Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hanna-Barbera Records Spotlight: The New Breed - Want Ad Reader

Day three of the Hanna-Barbera Spotlight has us spinning an HBR release from Sacramento, California based teen heart-throbs, The New Breed. The quartet of Encina High School students would record four singles for three labels in their two year existence and featured the musical stylings of George Hullin on drums, Tom Phillips and Ron Floegel on guitar and Tim Schmidt on bass on vocals.

Today's song of the week is called Want Ad Reader, the band's third of four singles. Want Ad Reader is a clear play off of some other band's song called Paperback Writer, both lyrically and musically. Want Ad Reader tells the sarcastic tale of a couple of lonely hearts who find each other in the classifieds. The woman is not quite what she had made herself out to be in her lonely hearts ad. Now the whole thing is a horrible fright for our poor protagonist. The single was originally released on the local label, World United, in September of '66 and must have received enough airplay locally that HBR swooped in (as they were prone to do) to give it a national release in November of 1966. Nothing came of it and the band went back to World United for their fourth and final single the next year. 
But our story doesn't end there. No. Ultimately The New Breed would unleash a devastating horror on the public. How? The bassist and lead singer of The New Breed was none other than one Mr. Timothy B. Schmidt (far left in the picture above) who would later go on to be a member of the two soft rock outfits, Poco and The Eagles. Two bands that can make a musicologist's stomach churn like few others could. Just ask Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, man.

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hanna-Barbera Records Spotlight: Positively Thirteen O'Clock - Psychotic Reaction

We're going to spend the rest of the week spinning some odd-ball discs and garage gems from the brief lived Hanna-Barbera Records, or HBR. The label only lasted two years, spanning 1965 to the early part of 1967 -- the golden age for American Garage rock. The HBR label started as a way for the animation company best known for The Jetsons, Scooby Doo and The Flintstones to capitalize on their established television brand by releasing music from their hit cartoons. To fill out the catalogue and reach a slightly older, cash-in-the-pocket crowd, HBR hired a young cat named Danny Hutton to seek out hot rock combos. They signed some acts like The Tidal Waves and The Guilloteens (great name!), but they focused more on relicensing and distributing songs released on regional labels and picking up one-off numbers from bands already signed to other labels.

Today's SoTW is one of those one-off numbers by a band recording under a pseudonym to avoid conflict with an existing contract. Today's song should sound familiar to most all of our readers. It's a cover of The Count Five's much loved 1965 number, Psychotic Reaction. To discerning ears the band may sound familiar as well, even though Positively Thirteen O'Clock didn't actually exist. The band was, in reality, a band called Mouse and The Traps from Tyler, Texas. Another great band name. 

Mouse and The Traps had just had a hit with their Bob Dylan influenced, A Public Execution for Fraternity Records when they recorded this number. How it came to life on the HBR label and with the name Positively Thirteen O'Clock is beyond my knowledge other than producer Jimmy Rabbit seems to have been pulling the strings. This version of Psychotic Reaction is, well, psychotic. More aggressive and more musically accomplished than the excellent original, the distinguishing element of this version is the fuzzed out guitar work of Bugs Henderson.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, October 28, 2013

R.I.P. Lou Reed. The Velvet Underground - Pale Blue Eyes

By now you all know, Lou Reed died yesterday at the age of 71. I will save the avalanche of words illustrating Lou Reed's greatness as we all are aware just how unique and groundbreaking Lou Reed's music was. Sometimes obtuse, sometimes painfully beautiful.

It's funny how people bubble up in your thoughts. Just last week I was speaking with a friend who told me how a mutual acquaintance of ours had officiated over Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson's wedding here in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado. I did not know that. And the week before, we were celebrating our Flip-Side birthday by noting that one of our posts on The Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane (demo version) was one of our Top 10 most popular posts ever. And now this.

Linger on.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Song of the Week: The New Colony Six - I Confess/Dawn Is Breaking

I Confess
Dawn Is Breaking
A very astute reader from Nitro-Retro noted from our post on The Scorpions' song, Too Many Lovers, that the organ work on that song shared a nice similarity to the Flip-Side of the debut single from US band, The New Colony Six. I sauntered (cooly) to the record collection, played the song and thought to myself: "yeah, that's a cool coincidence." So we of course have to follow our flowing stream of consciousness all the way from Manchester to the Netherlands to San Diego and now to Chicago.

I Confess/Dawn Is Breaking was the debut single for The New Colony Six way back in November, 1965 on the Centaur Records label. The band was at this point, Ray Graffia, Chick James, Pat McBride, Craig Kemp, Wally Kemp and Gerry Van Kollenburg. Kollenburg and Graffia wrote the A-Side; Kemp the Flip-side.  I Confess is the stronger of the two, but Dawn Is Breaking is pretty cool...and of course, you can compare it to The Scorpions 1965 Flip-Side, Too Many Lovers. Go crazy kids!
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Song of the Week: The Tell-Tale Hearts - Too Many Lovers

The smart ones of you out there new this was coming. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? 

Yesterday we looked at the 1965 recording by The Scorpions doing Too Many Lovers. Some comments to that post led us to today where we jump 21 years ahead to 1986 and across many, many miles to land in San Diego. It was there and then that The Tell-Tale Hearts traveled to a 3-track recording studio tucked away in the mountains East of town. The band at that time was (from L-R), Bill Calhoun, Mike Stax, Dave Klowden, Ray Brandes and Pete Meisner. (Meisner and Stax are both alums of The Crawdaddys, btw) This is the only TTH recording with the über talented Pete Meisner on lead guitar. And it was the last recording of The Tell-Tale Hearts as we really knew them. The TTH's superb take on Too Many Lovers was released on the Australian Kavern-7 Records.

While the arrangement stays largely faithful to the original by The Scorpions, there are some clear differences. The ethereal harmonies are gone, Calhoun's Vox Continental organ doesn't quite go to the quirkiness of the original. Mike Stax's bass work is brought to the fore, Dave Klowden's drum gets a huge production boost, particularly towards the end where the reverb drenched drum fills bring the song to a percussive end. On top of that, singer Ray Brandes attacks the song with anger whereas the Scorpions singer, Peter Lewis, sang the song with regret and sadness. And last, The Tell-Tale Hearts give the song a much needed supercharge at guitar. Meisner's guitar work (which I believe was done with a Guild Starfire III and a Vox AC30) is phenomenal and buttresses Brandes' bitter approach perfectly. Listen for the click at 1:11 as he steps on the Vox Tone Bender to take the lead to 11. 

Enjoy the two back-to-back. And if you are up for it, check out this 2009 Flip-Side post on The Tell-Tale Hearts.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Song of the Week: The Scorpions - Too Many Lovers

Holy Scorpion songs, batman. We're back for a second straight day of featuring a song from the 60s beat group, The Scorpions. To be honest, that's a lot of attention paid to a band of this little infamy. A couple of comments on yesterday's Scorpions post for Hey Honey got us referencing this song so we figured we better put it out.

The song is Too Many Lovers and it is a real quirky number with a freaky cool organ bubbling under the whole song and some dang nifty falsetto harmonies at 1:49 to carry us out. It was released as the Flip-Side to a mundane cover on CNR Records in October of 1966. (We really do get carried away with the Flip-Sides on this blog. Good thing we named our site appropriately). Many, many years later the San Diego rock band, The Tell-Tale Hearts, would record a beautiful version of this song for Kavern-7 Records. Hmmm, is that a hint to tomorrow's post?

The organ in this Scorpions song reminds us of a song recorded in Minot, North Dakota a year later by The Trenchmen. You can read that post here. Highly recommended stuff, dude.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Song of the Week: The Scorpions - Hey Honey

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to our stage...The Scorpions! No, not the German soft metal band from the 80s who like to rock things like a weather phenomenon. This group was from Manchester, England before they relocated to The Netherlands sometime in 1964. The band was (at the time of this recording) Peter Lewis, Tony and Rodney Postill, Ian Lucas and Terry Morton. The band released 12 singles and an album on the dutch based CNR label. Most are tepid covers of Chuck Berry and Little Richard covers. But tucked away on a few Flip-Sides were band compositions that stood out from the rest. 

Today's Song of the Week is one of those. The song is Hey Honey, and it's the Flip-Side of their 7th single, released in June of 1965. I love the simple two chord riff and then the descending chords into the main structure of the song. Despite a very weak guitar lead, the rhythm guitar work throughout the song makes this a must spin gem. 

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy 87th Birthday Chuck Berry -- Memphis/Back In the USA

Back In The USA
Happy 87th birthday to the man with the plan, Chuck Berry. The single most influential rock musician ever?

Here is my favorite Chuck Berry single ever. On Chess Records, from May, 1959, we have Back In The USA paired with the heartbreaking, Memphis.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Seven posts where the recording artist has joined the conversation.

Our narcissistic birthday bash continues as we engage in more self-love today. It's touching, really. As we mentioned on Monday, we get a big, big smile on our face when we are contacted by the very people associated with the record about which we are writing. It's one thing to write about a 47 year old record and have people excited to be turned on to the dusty groove for the first time. It's quite another level of cool to hear from the songwriter or guitarist or even the singer's children. Most of the musicians think the record has long been forgotten. Oh, no! You and I know that's not the case. Here are seven postings for which somebody closely associated with the record has left a comment or two on our site filling in more information and enjoying the well-deserved attention.

7. The Misunderstood -- Who Do You Love? [original post here] = 430 hits.
Abstract from comment by Stephen Whiting, bassist from The Misunderstood:
Anyway, if you listen closely, after I begin the lick, you'll hear Glenn fading in with long sustaining notes; when I start doubling the notes in the 2nd half of the lick, then you can hear Tony come in with a really nicely articulated counter-melody...good stuff!! I was very fortunate to play with a group of really GREAT guys who also happened to be incredibly talented, and together, we were just much more than the sum of our parts. 
6. The Enfields - She Already Has Somebody [original post here] = 447 hits.
She Already Has Somebody

Abstract from comment by Ted Munda songwriter and guitarist for The Enfields:
Glad the music is still moving people! Just a little hidden inside info for you; Vince Rago had NOTHING to do with this song. He was our crooked Manager. I wrote the entire song and called it" SHE ALREADY HAS". When the record came out his name was on it and he said it was because he changed the Title to "SHE ALREADY HAS SOMEBODY"
5. The Others - I Can't Stand This Love, Goodbye [original post here] = 540 hits.

Abstract from comment by Jim Destout, lead guitarist for The Others:
I never imagined that this would become kind of a "Garage Band" classic. But, listening to it now, it really holds up well.
4. The Dynamics - Misery [original post here] = 575 hits.

Abstract from comment by Chris Bramlett, guitarist on Misery:
I was playing a Fender Guitar and Amp at the time, im not sure what models. I....played lead on both sides, and all the songs were recorded at United Sound in Detroit.

3. The Toggery Five - I'm Gonna Jump [original post here] = 616 hits.

Abstract from comment by Frank Renshaw, singer and songwriter for The Toggery Five:
As Paul Young had only been with us a couple of weeks, he really didn't know many of our songs, so it was suggested we try a new song that I'd written called "I`m Gonna Jump". We did a run-through, then did it in one take. That was it, session over. To our horror, it was subsequently BANNED by the BBC as a suicide song. What !!!!
2. The Mourning Reign - Satisfaction Guaranteed [original post here] = 620 hits.

Abstract from Beau Maggie, singer for The Mourning Reign:
We were, quite simply put...In Times of Heaven and a bit crazy...but every day was so good....and's not "mouth of hallucination"'s "mass hallucination"...although mouth of...sounds better than what I originally wrote...
1. Murphy and The Mob -- Born Loser [original post here] = 1141 hits.

Abstract from Stephen Brewerton, lyricist for Born Loser:
I was a nerd going to junior college trying to avoid the draft....I met Terry and Dennis Murphy and somehow became their manager. I wrote the lyrics to “Born Loser.” I managed them for two months. After I quit managing them, Terry and Dennis put music to my lyrics and recorded the songs at Steve Wright’s recording studio.
Pretty damn cool stuff if I do say so myself. I hope you all check out the original posts and keep coming back. Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Top 5 Busker Days posts!

Not long after On The Flip-Side got started with its Songs Of The Week, I was prowling the streets and stations of San Francisco and Berkeley, looking for street musicians to record.  The first Busker Day post went up on December 3, 2008, and since then some 25+ busker posts have graced these pages.  In celebration of this blog's five years, today we look at the Top 5 clicked on Busker Days posts:

5. Nick Stillman -- Cumberland Gap [original post here] = 408 hits

4. Jesse Morris (RIP) -- True Red Blood [original post here] = 410 hits.

3. Craig Ventresco - Hoosier Sweetheart / There Ain't No Land Like Dixieland To Me [original post here] = 513 hits.

2. The Jonah Kit - Pancho and Lefty [original post here] = 540 hits.

And the number one Busker Days post, the late great Jesse Morris:

1. Jesse Morris - Six Pack [original post here] = 554 hits.

Enjoy and see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top 10 most popular On The Flip-Side posts of all time.

It was five years ago today that we posted our first On The Flip-Side post. Look at yesterday's post to hear that first song posting. Today we are looking at the Top 10 most clicked on posts in the five year history of On The Flip Side. It's quite an eclectic mix. Explore. Enjoy.
10.  Nirvana and Leadbelly -- Where Did You Sleep Last Night? [original post here] = 1504 hits.

9.  Pete Townshend - Is It In My Head (demo) [original post here] = 1603 hits.
8.  Howlin' Wolf featuring Hubert Sumlin (RIP) - Smokestack Lightnin' [original post here] = 1675 hits.
7.  Junior Kimbrough - Meet Me In The City [original post here] = 1725 hits.
6.  Bill Haley and the Comets -- Razzle Dazzle [original post here] =  2048 hits.
5.  The Byrds - Have You Seen Her Face? [original post here] = 2081 hits
4.  Happy 90th Birthday to Bettie Page [original post here] = 2081 hits.

3. The Velvet Underground -- Sweet Jane (alternate version) [original post here] = 2570 hits.
2.  Blind Willie McTell - God Don't Like It [original post here] = 3931 hits.
And the number 1 post of all time, in a runaway is...

1.  The Runaways -- Cherry Bomb [original post here] = 12,940 hits!
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's an On The Flip-Side 5th Birthday Party!

Five years ago this week, we humbly launched our little music blog dedicated to spinning some of our favorite dusty records. That's right, On The Flip-Side is blowing out some candles this week and making a bucket list. 60s Garage, Rockabilly, Jazz, Original Songs, Original Busker Recordings, Blues, Soul and Punk Rock has all had a chance to crawl out of the analog crypt and get a little digital love from us. In that five years we've grown quite a bit. The earliest rambling posts have hits in the single digits. Today each post gets hundreds of minutes. We've written too many "in memorium" posts and we've been thrilled to become a connecting point for many artists who thought their record was long forgotten. The best thing about writing On The Flip-Side is hearing from the musicians who recorded the music or hearing from the children of the musicians who beam with pride that their mom or dad's work is still touching other people. And, of course, we love hearing from you in the way of comments!

We're going to look back all this week at some of our most pivotal posts, personal favorite posts, and, of course, our most popular posts ever. We may even post more than once a day. That's how excited we are to be strutting around in our birthday suit, letting our Flip-Side hang out for all the world to see.

Let's start our celebration by looking at the band and song that inspired our first ever On The Flip-Side post way back on October 15th, 2008. It was a song that strikes me so deep in the core that EACH and EVERY SINGLE TIME I hear this song I want to scream to the world about the greatness that is contained in this little off-key warble of an offering from a bunch of kids in the 60s. The song is I Had To Tell You by The 13th Floor Elevators, the Austin, Texas band from the mid-60s that busted doors down and created an odd music that sounded nothing like anything before. I Had To Tell You was tucked away on the Flip-Side of the band's criminally underrated second album, Easter Everywhere, released on International Artists in November of 1967. The band was, at that time, singer Roky Erickson, guitarist Stacy Sutherland, bassist Dan Galindo, drummer Danny Thomas and jug player, Tommy Hall.
I Had To Tell You was written by Roky Erickson and poet Clementine Hall, Tommy Hall's wife. I think you'll agree, it was a great place to start. I'm giving you some newly found photos of the earliest days of the 13th Floor Elevators playing a high school dance as well as a scan of the original dust cover of Easter Everywhere with the lyrics to I Had To Tell You. Enjoy. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Song of the Week: Slim Harpo - Rainin' In My Heart/Don't Start Crying Now

Rainin' In My Heart
Don't Start Cryin' Now
Slim Harpo is a curious music figure. He barely registers for blues fans, but he was a huge influence on rock musicians. More specifically, the British Invasion musicians who mined the blues for their own material. 

Born John Isaac Moore, our hero today grew up in rural Louisiana and moved to New Orleans to work the docks at the height of World War II in 1942. There Moore labored away in relative anonymity, a laborer, not a musician. He played harmonica in his church band and occasionally played guitar for them as well. Anonymity was the word for many, many years. Then, sometime in the mid-50s, Louisiana blues man, Lightnin' Slim noticed John Isaac Moore in the church band and asked him to accompany him. It was with Lightnin' Slim that John Isaac Moore became known, first, as Harmonica Slim, and then later as Slim Harpo.

At age 33, Slim Harpo released his first single on the local Excello Records label in the Summer of 1957. That maiden record featured two originals,  I'm A King Bee/I've Got Love If You Want It. John Isaac Moore was no more and the anonymity was gone.  I'm a King Bee would be recorded by The Rolling Stones for their first full length release in '64. Similarly, the Flip-Side of Harpo's first single, I've Got Love If You Want It would be covered by The Kinks and plagiarized by The Who (as I'm The Face). The Rolling Stones and Dave Edmunds would later go on to cover Harpo's 1996 number, Shake Your Hips and the Yardbirds would plagiarize another of Harpo's 1966 singles, Baby Scratch My Back (The Yardbirds rechristened the number as Rack My Mind). Countless other European bands picked up on the covers by the Stones and Kinks in particular, and covered their versions, likely never hearing Harpo's originals. And the Moody Blues took their name from one of Harpo's songs. 

But we focus today on Slim Harpo's third single, also on Excello Records, from January of 1961. Recorded in the small town of Crowley, Louisiana, it would be Slim Harpo's first release to chart on the US R&B charts and the first single of his to see a release in the UK. The number is Rainin' In My Heart/Don't Start Cryin' Now. Both numbers written by Slim Harpo. Rainin' In My Heart would be covered by The Pretty Things in '65 and Don't Start Cryin' Now would be covered by Van Morrison's Them as the Flip-Side of their first release in '64.

Even if Slim Harpo never attained fame, never became a household name, his impact was felt far beyond his native Louisiana. Enjoy.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Song of the Week: The Twilights - 9.50

A bonus Aussie post before I go out tonight. The Twilights hailed from Elizabeth, Australia, near Adelaide. They pop group were Glenn Shorrock, Laurie Pryor, Clem Paddy McCartney, John Bywaters, Peter Brideoake and the song's composer, guitarist Terry Britten. 9.50 was released in February of 1967 as the Flip-Side of their 8th single for Columbia Records.