Tuesday, December 30, 2014

And the winner of the South Region Battle of The Bands is...

The executive committee of On The Flip-Side finally drew a quorum in this busy holiday season and voted on the winners of the Battle Of The Garage Bands for the South Region. The top three were a unanimous decision with The Bad Roads of Louisiana taking the coveted top prize. The Tasmanians of Florida and the Swinging Machine of Virginia stand on the podium on either side with their medals in hand. Just off the podium were The Clockwork Orange of Kentucky and The Nomads of North Carolina.

The Bad Roads will now represent The South and join The Squires from the New England region, The Blues Magoos from New York and the Mid-Atlantic region champions, The Enfields, as they all wait in the green room for the next region's winner.

And what region is that, you ask? Well, look at the map below at that horrific green color. We are traveling to The Great Lakes region next. For our purposes that will include Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. This is sure to be a region chock-full-O-wonderfulness.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The South Spotlight: Dr. Spec's Optical Illusion - Tryin' To Mess My Mind/She's The One

The final day of our regional Battle of the Garage Bands for the South Region. Today we are in New Orleans, Louisiana where we get the unique-named band, Dr. Spec's Optical Illusion. This very rare record was released on the not infamous Flambeau Records in the Summer of 1967. The band had gone by the name of the Illusions but when it came time to make a record the label owner's wife and business partner changed the name on the pressing to make it sound more psychedelic. The singer, Kris Sherman, his brother, drummer Scott Sherman, guitarist Marshall Clyburn, bassist Bryce "pinky" Hatchett and organ player Rick Stelma had no idea this name change had gone down. And, apparently, their parents weren't too hip on how things went down and didn't trust the manager, James Miglaccio. Being that not all in the band were old enough to sign, some parents refused to sign the contract. That means the record never got a release beyond it's initial pressing from the plant and never made it's way into stores. Very few of these records are thought to exist today. 

Both songs, Tryin' To Mess My Mind and She's The One, were written by the Kris and Scott Sherman as well as Marshall Clyburn. Somehow they spelled Clyburn's name two different ways on either side of the record. 

Both sides are ravers in the first order. The A-side, Tryin' To Mess My Mind, is ultimately a soul number hidden under a Psych-Rock coat. I dig Pinky's bass work on this number. She's The One starts with a nice bass line and warbly guitar that hint at a slightly earlier era in garage rock. The reverb drenched organ and Kris Sherman's raging vocals put the number right back in 1967.

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

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The South Spotlight: The Swinging Machine - Do You Have To Ask?/Comin' On Back Home

Day 9 of our South Region Battle of the Garage Bands gives us The Swinging Machine from the Portsmouth/Norfolk area of Virginia.

The band was Gary Richardson, Lee Caraway, Billy Stallings, Bob Fisher, Evan Pierce and Dick Bocock. We are, of course, going to feature the Flip-Side prominently. That song is the swinging number, Do You Have To Ask? written by the singer, Gary Richardson, and the organ player, Billy Stallings and recorded in the Fall of 1965. Some cat named Anderson gets co-credit as does the band manager, Frank Guida. We're doubting the manager had anything to do with the writing of it but instead stuck his name on the record as managers like to do. Frank Guida, by the way, owned the record label, SPQR Records, which released The Swinging Machine's only single in 1966.

The A-Side, Comin' On Back Home, is a number I don't have, so here is a You Tube video for it. It's a solid number but simply a patch on the Flip-Side. That number was written by band members, Bob Fisher, Billy Stallings and Evan Pierce.
According to the website, Garage Hangover, Gary Richardson (far right in the picture below) died of a drug overdose in 1968. We swiped the photo from that same site which has a lot of info on the band. Click here to read much more about the band and check out some great photos.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The South Spotlight: Clock Work Orange - Your Golden Touch/Do Me Right Now

Clock Work Orange hailed from Paducah, Kentucky and recorded only one single in their brief life. The recording session took place in Birmingham, Alabama and the boys - Terry Frazier on guitar, Barry Yancey on bass, Steve Rudolph on keyboards, Danny Powley on vocals and Bill Ashley on drums -- kicked out two wonderful songs that day. As usual we are flipping over their 1967 release on Creole Records and starting with the Flip-Side.

Your Golden Touch was written by the guitarist for the band and features some beautifully restrained vocals over a nice tremelo based guitar. The bass work from Barry Yancey is superb. Frazier brings out the fuzz pedal in full force for the very brief guitar lead, but luckily it doesn't overwhelm the song.

Do Me Right Now was written by Dough Kershaw, the fiddle player who went on to great fame in the 70s. It's a fast, rhythm guitar based song that fits the mold of the Flip-Side. The organ pokes it's head out for a few seconds for a "lead" before fading back into the background. Kershaw also produced both sides.

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

[ed. note - A music player we were using has apparently gone under taking much of our music files with it. We are experimenting with new music players and lots of bugs and failures are at hand. This music player, Mixcloud, does not appear to support a download function. Rest assured, whatever service we land on, we will have downloads available.]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The South Spotlight: The Barracudas - Baby Get Lost

Day seven of our Battle of the Garage Bands from The South has us spinning a rare little gem from some little kids in the heart of nowhere, Bunkie, Louisiana. Not too much known about The Barracudas other than they are in a hurry to tell that little middle school girl to get lost. They only gave her 1:43 to listen to their high pitched ultimatum:
Well why should I be a raving fool
I'm the boss so I make the rules
Well do me a favor
Well, baby get lost (get lost! get lost!)
I don't care, I don't care
Well, baby get lost (get lost! get lost!)
And then they fit in a drum solo! Awesome. The pre-teens released this on Zundak Records in April of 1965.

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

Monday, December 15, 2014

The South Spotlight: Little Phil and the Night Shadows - Sixty Second Swinger/In The Air

Day 6 of our 10-part Battle of the Garage Bands for The South Region takes us to Georgia where we spin a record from Little Phil and the Night Shadows. The Night Shadows have roots dating back to 1957. It wasn't until 1964, when The Beatles hit in the US, that the band transmogrified into a mod rock combo. As they did they added a high school kid to take over on vocals and hip the band up. That kid was the 14 year old Phil Rosenberg. Two years later, in 1966, the band would record two singles. The first for Dot Records and this one, for Gaye Records.

Sixty Second Swinger is a great rollicking number that is more than 60 seconds. But not much more as it clocks in at a very brief 2:16. We're not totally sure exactly what is a Sixty Second Swinger. It has something to do with being a way out mod girl who does what she wants. You know, like going to school during the day and making love all night. How these actions of our swinger/hero get distilled into Sixty Seconds is still a mystery to us. The song was written by Aleck Janoulis, the bassist (standing second from left on the picture sleeve). Maybe he can tell us.

The Flip-Side is the Janoulis co-composed number, In The Air. It's a nice folky, Byrds-influenced number with a serious tone to it. The humorously bespectacled Jimmy Callaway gives us a real nice guitar solo in between Little Phil's waxing away on the fragile state of the world.

Other members of the band include Bobby Newell and Charles Spinks. The band ultimately were unable to tour outside of Atlanta as Phil was still in High School and the others had to focus on their college studies to avoid the draft.
 Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

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!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The South Spotlight: The Nomads - Thoughts Of A Madman/From Zero Down

Day four of our regional Battle of The Bands focusing on The South takes us to Mount Airy, North Carolina. The rural town is perhaps best known for being the home to one Mr. Andy Griffith. The town even claims that Mount Airy was the inspiration for Griffith's fictional town, Mayberry. That may be, but Aunt Bee and Floyd The Barber never rocked like the primal band we feature today. Otis couldn't even keep up with these moving maudlin marauders.

The Nomads recorded three singles in their brief day. We feature today, their last (and best) single. It was released on Tornado Records in April of 1967. Both sides are originals composed by members Bruce Evans and Larry Deatherage.

The A-Side is the wickedly cool Thoughts Of A Madman. It opens with an echo-chambered guitar that is reminiscent of the work on the 13th Floor Elevators' second album, Easter Everywhere. Bruce Evans pushes the microphone into the red ad he sings of suicide, death with peace of mind, insanity and "1000 graves dancing in my head". Not your typical A-Side material for rural North Carolina in 1967!

The Flip-Side is the raunchy raver with a quizzical title of From Zero Down. Gary Beeson shines on the organ as The Nomads sing about the timeless teen classic -- a party...tonight! But again, Evans adds in a bit of woe-is-me at the gospel like bridge.
I'm getting tired of being treated like dirt
I'm sick of being the only one who gets hurt
I'm tired of all those people always laughing at me
From now on baby, this is the way it's going to be
Despite that turn into the dark, rest assured, the boys are going to feel good at their party (tonight). Damn it!

Mike Badgett and Jerry Martin rounded out the rhythm section of the band. Not long after recording this farewell single, the boys scattered to the usual spots -- college and Vietnam.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The South Spotlight: We The People - When I Arrive/Ain't Gonna Find Nobody (Better Than You)

Day three of our Battle of the Garage Bands in The South region gives us We The People from Orlando, Florida. This is the third time we've written about the band! It's beginning to be kinda a thing with us. Last time we wrote about In The Past and that prompted a great conversation with songwriter, Wayne Proctor, over at our Facebook page. Prior to that we wrote about their scorcher in the first degree, You Burn Me Up And Down.

But today we turn to the band's final single. Released in April of 1968 on RCA Records, the band's farewell release finds the Orlando combo down from a five piece band to a four piece band. Wayne Proctor had left the band to go to college and avoid the draft and drummer Lee Ferguson had been replaced by Tommy Cox.

As usual we're going to flip the record around and spotlight the Flip-Side first. When I Arrive was written and sung by Tommy Talton, perhaps the band's most prolific songwriter. A psych-rager, When I Arrive features some blistering guitar work, defiant lyrics and great, great production. To this listener you could put this in with any UK Freakbeat compilation and it would fit right in with Wimple Winch, John's Children and the likes. The extended guitar break in the middle is nothing less than epic. The song goes into a lulling backing vocal run through a Leslie Speaker before reigniting into Talton's aggressive vocals for the finalé.

The A-Side was written and sung by guitarist David Duff who presents us with a soulful number in the vain of The Young Rascals. In an interview I recently read over at It's Psychedelic Baby, Wayne Proctor went on record that Ain't Gonna Find Nobody (Better Than You) remains his favorite We The People song of all time. We won't go that far (heck, we much prefer the Flip-Side), but we agree, it's damn good and it goes to show just how deep the talent pool was in this band, even after Proctor had departed. In reading up on this band, I must say it's also nice to hear from musicians who genuinely liked each other and walked away from their experience unified and happy with it.

Shortly after this double sided gem was released, Tommy Talton left the band. In a nice little dovetail with the last post on The Tasmanians, we can report that Tommy Talton was replaced by one Mr. Mike "Gypsy" Carns after his band dismantled about the same time.

I've lifted a few photos with permission from the aforementioned website, It's Psychedelic Baby.

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The South Spotlight: The Tasmanians - Baby/Love, Love, Love

Day two of 10 in our Battle of the Garage Bands from The South. We've crowned winners in New England, The Mid-Atlantic and New York. Now we let the Confederacy have their day in the sun.

And in so doing we turn our attention to sunny West Palm Beach, Florida where we have The Tasmanians with their debut single on Conda Records from 1966. As we tend to do here at On The Flip-Side, we are going to flip the record over and spin the Flip-Side first (that's how we got our name, after all).

Baby is a bit of an oddity in the garage world of the 60's. It's a foot stomping raver that is primarily acoustic based. Baby was written by singer and acoustic guitarist Robbin Thompson and lead guitarist and harmonica player, Mike "Gypsy" Carns. (As is pathetically so often the case, both of their names were misspelled on the label). We get the requisite garage stomper lyrics of 'girl done me wrong' sung with a menacing snarl by Thompson. Fine harmonies, well restrained fuzz guitar and some killer bass work fill out the musical landscape. We're particularly fond of the cacophonous breakdown of an ending to the song with bassist Woody Pollard leading the way and keyboardist Craig Davis running up and down the keyboard.

Love, Love, Love is the single's A-Side, and, as it seems must be for an A-Side, tells the exact opposite tale of the Flip-Side of the single. Here we have a girl who can do no wrong. And man oh man, does she inspire love. It's a much more pop approach and a very brief one clocking in at only 1:49. Love, Love, Love was also written by Thompson and Carns. It is certainly catchy as hell and radio friendly and the number particularly soars at the bridge. But in the end, it is Baby that makes this piece of vinyl one highly sought out single from The South.

The Tasmanians released one more single the following year, the A-side is good, but it doesn't measure up to their debut. The band played all over Florida where they played with the likes of the Beau Brummels. A little side note, the band was managed by a police detective who tried to keep the boys on the straight and narrow. I wonder how that worked out?

Both Thompson and Carns are still active in the music business and savvy internet sleuths can even find the two hep-cats still performing and fishing together. Sadly Pollard, Davis and drummer Greg Brundt have all passed away. All pics are taken with permission from Gypsy Carns' website. He has a ton more on there. Check it out.

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

Monday, December 8, 2014

The South Spotlight: The Bad Roads - Blue Girl/Too Bad

We're deep into our regional Battle of the Garage Bands series now with three US regions down (New England, New York, Mid-Atlantic). Today we start our 10-day run way down in the deep South. 

Some of the best garage records from the 60s came out of the middle of nowhere. Or maybe just to the left of center of nowhere. That's the case with today's wonderful double sided gem.

The band known as The Bad Roads hailed from Lake Charles, Louisiana. The band members were Buz Clark on vocals/harmonica, Terry Green on lead guitar, Briant Smith on guitar, Mike Hicks on bass and Danny Kimball on drums. Sometime around the Summer of 1966, five hipsters in white pants drove to Ville Platte, Louisiana to record two original compositions at Floyd Solieu's Jin Records studio. The label had released a ton of Cajun music, but The Bad Roads were going to come out of that little studio with two snot-nosed rockers to unleash on South-Western Louisiana. 

The A-Side is the band composed, Blue Girl, a two minute scorcher about a "groovy chick with a way out style". Buz gives us the requisite sneer and Terry Green adds some particularly good guitar work with enough fuzz to make a peach smile. 

For my money, it's the Flip-Side that really steals the show. The band composed Too Bad tells the story of a not so groovy chick who didn't know a good thing when it was staring her right in the face. A great recurring riff, great drum work and a really unique set of middle sections that have Buz talking his way through his plea with this girl. Not to mention some great lyrics. 

The Bad Roads are still playing and have a website set-up with some great photos. Check it out here.
Until next time, we'll see  you On The Flip-Side!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

And the winner of the Mid-Atlantic Region Battle of the Bands is...

Wow! We've never had a competition this close. Two ties in the top 5 alone. After a grueling argument between the Executive Committee (EC) of On The Flip-Side (OTFS), the accounting firm of Fritz and Steinberger has carefully tabulated the results. The results are...
So now Wilmington, Delaware's The Enfields will move on to the next round where they will meet up with The Squires representing New England and The Blues Magoos representing New York. But all of those cool records have to wait for more regional results to come in. Next up...The South!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: The Bucaneer's - You're Never Gonna Love Me Anymore

Our last day of this Mid-Atlantic show-down and we're treating you to a real gem. It's the Bucaneer's's You're Never Gonna Love Me Anymore and it tells the tale in first-person about what happens when you cheat for the third time and everyone, especially your girl, knows it. The Bucaneer's were a Barrington, New Jersey outfit that drove to Philadelphia in '66 to record several originals of which our song and its flip, both written by guitarist/vocalist Ron Krause, saw sunlight on the Amigo label.

We are indebted to Garage Hangover for the pictures and info. You can find some more info there provided by the band's founder, guitarist and back-up vocalist Don Bevers.

Stay tuned as we tally the votes for this battle of the bands and report the results back to you.
Until then see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: The Mad Hatters - I'll Come Running

Day nine of the Mid-Atlantic Battle of the Bands takes us to Annapolis, Maryland where we spin the second, and last, record from The Mad Hatters.

The Mad Hatters were Dave Vittek, Tom Curley, Alan Fowler and Richard Kumer. The band released their first single, a great original, on Ascot Records. They promptly were dropped and then picked up by Fontana Records. Their second single, released in April of 1967, is this blistering cover of Lulu's I'll Come Running, written by Bert Berns. (You can hear and read about that here). The lads from Maryland's quaint state capitol gave the number quite a rewrite, however. Changing the tune to a blistering fast 4/4 beat with a cool lead guitar riff throughout, a farfisa organ and a whimsical musical punctuation mark.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: The Swamp Rats - Louie, Louie/Hey Joe

Mid-Atlantic Battle of the Garage Bands takes us to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here we find the first release by garage legends, The Swamp Rats. On this first 1966 release, on St. Clair Records, the band was a trio of Dick Newton, Dave Cannon, and Don Schriener. After this first single Bob Hocko would join the band as singer, but here Dick does the heavy lifting.

Obviously both songs are covers of standards of their day. But what covers they are! Louie, Louie is clearly picked up from the version recorded by The Sonics of Tacoma, Washington. It takes The Sonics already rocket-fueled approach and adds a little more kick. Dick Newton strains to keep his voice from cracking and gives us a first class teenage rock-n-roll scream going into the guitar solo.

The Flip-Side of Hey Joe is nearly as insane as the A-Side. Again, Dick Newtown and the band feel like a train that is about to come off the tracks on a curvy descent.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: The Hangmen - What A Girl Can't Do

Day seven of the Mid-Atlantic Battle of the Garage Bands takes us to Garrett Park, Maryland, a small town in affluent Montgomery County abutting Washington, DC.

The story of The Hangmen is very confusing and I'm not going to try to explain it all here. This is the quickie version. Once upon a time there was a surf band that called themselves The Reekers. The Reekers put out one bitchin' instrumental record in 1965 called Don't Call Me Flyface with a Flip-Side of Grindin'. That was released on the tiny Baltimore soul label of Ru-Jac Records. Both songs were composed by band leader, Tom Guernsey. It got enough air-play that it gave The Reekers a glimmer of hope. The Reekers then recorded two more Tom Guernsey vocal originals (this time with band member Joe Triplet singing) at two different times at two different studios. Shortly after recording the numbers, singer Joe Triplet and another member of The Reekers went off for their freshman year of college.

So here was Tom Guernsey shopping two demos by a band that no longer existed. Around this same time, Tom and his brother John Guernsey agreed to join a local upstart band called The Hangmen. Monument Records bit on the demos that Tom was shopping and someone, perhaps Tom, decided to release it under the name of his new band, The Hangmen, even though it was members of The Reekers playing on the record. What A Girl Can't Do became a minor local hit when released at Christmas time in 1965 and Monument pushed The Hangmen into a studio to record a full length LP. The problem was that The Hangmen on the LP and on the subsequent two singles was largely a different band - with a different singer -- than on their hit record. Clear as mud, right?

The picture below is of The Reekers, the band that actually recorded What A Girl Can't Do. But Joe Triplet is not in the picture. Tom is in the middle. The pic was lifted from the good folk at Garage Hangover.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: The Tree - No Good Woman

More Mid-Atlantic battle of the garage bands. We go back to New Jersey with The Tree doing No Good Woman from 1967. I don't know too much about this record on the one-off Barvis Records label. So I'll let the record do all the talking for me today. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: The Myddle Class - Don't Let Me Sleep Too Long / I Happen To Love You

The Myddle Class first came onto their local suburban New Jersey scene in 1964 as the King Bees but upgraded their name to avoid confusion with the King Bees releasing stuff on RCA Victor. Their first show under this new moniker was on December 11, 1965 in Summit, New Jersey. One of the opening acts for that show was a group playing its first live performance with its now core membership, The Velvet Underground. That's an auspicious start for our guys which consisted of Dave Palmer on vocals, Rick Philips on guitar, Danny Mansolino on Organ, Charles Larkey on bass and Michael Rosa on drums. Meanwhile, Al Aronowitz, New York Post columnist and band manager introduced the band to the songwriting team Jerry Goffin and Carole King who agree to write and produce for the Myddle Class. The bands first 45 was released on the short-lived Goffin-King label Tomorrow and features an excellent cover of Gates Of Eden as well as the brilliant folky original Free As The Wind.

Their next release on Tomorrow is our featured disc, released in June of '66. It opens on side A with the charging, barn-razing Don't Let Me Sleep Too Long. It's got screaming guitar work as well as some plain old screaming and gives the impression of the kind of raucous live performance for which they were known. The song is credited to the band, but it is well known that they copped it from The Blues Project's Wake Me, Shake Me while opening for them and even managed to get an earlier release than the original, itself taken from a traditional song. A later release on Buddha, while still crediting the band, gives arrangement credit to Al Kooper and The Blues Project. That's thoughtful.

The flip-side brings us to a Goffin-King song we flipsiders happen to really love, I Happen To Love You. The band was somewhat of a song tester for Goffin-King with some songs redirected to The Monkees, and one can easily imagine Micky Dolenz voice on this song. There are demos of Goin' Back and Pleasant Valley Sunday as well as others waiting for a well-deserved retrospective of The Myddle Class. The band only released one more single, also on Tomorrow. Charles Larkey married Carole King, Dave Palmer was an early vocalist for Steely Dan, and Rick Philips was senselessly murdered in 1969 by a jealous roommate.

You can also hear a version of I Happen To Love You by Them here.

See you on the Flip-Side!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: The Young Rascals - You Better Run/Love Is A Beautiful Thing

Day 4 of the Mid-Atlantic Battle of the Bands has us looking at a band that scored big on the national stage with their second single, a cover of Good Lovin'. Today we feature their third single, released on Atlantic Records in the Summer of 1966. It's the double A-Side of You Better Run with a Flip-Side of Love Is A Beautiful Thing. Both songs are originals. You Better Run composed by keyboard player/singer Felix Cavaliere and singer Eddie Brigati. Love Is A Beautiful Thing, written by Cavaliere and guitarist Gene Cornish. Drummer Dino Danelli rounded out the group.

You Better Run is a great tempest of a song boiling with anger and frustration. Gene Cornish's rhythm guitar work harkens back to that of their previous hit, Good Lovin'. Pat Benatar would score a hit with a unintentionally comical cover of this song in 1980, thirteen years to month after this was first released. In fact, Benatar's cover was the second video ever played on MTV!

Love Is A Beautiful Thing is a great Flip-Side! Cool organ, soulful delivery, back and forth vocal leads a la Sam and Dave, and that patented, fast rhythm guitar work growling under it all. Garage legends, We The People would curiously cover this song very faithfully late in 1967.

All in all, the Rascals hit the big time, but it doesn't mean they weren't still just a garage band at heart!
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: The Enfields - She Already Has Somebody/I'm For Things You Do

[Ed. Note: Please see the comment section below for a little bit of color from the song's author, Ted Munda]

Day three of our Mid-Atlantic Battle of the Garage Bands. Today we move to Wilmington, Delaware.

Like everyone else I know who has heard this song, I first came to it by way of the outstanding 1980s compilation, What A Way To Die. Many years later I was lucky enough to come across the single and scoop it up. Because of misinformation from that compilation, I had it in my head that these cats were out of Pennsylvania, but a little internetting showed that -- as usual -- I was wrong. It appears The Enfields hailed from the Wilmington, Delaware area. They put out a number of singles between '65 and '67 and then the band splintered. 

The frontman and songwriter, Ted Munda, was apparently still in high school when he penned She Already Has Somebody (with V. Rago) as well as it's top notch Flip-Side, I'm For Things You Do. It's the band's second single and was given to us in 1966, of course. It features gentle, warbly guitar work by John Bernard who sounds like he has been digging on some surf music. The song also comes with some stellar whispered harmonies courtesy of Munda and Charlie Berl, each of whom appear to have worshipped devoutly at the church of The Holy Zombie with pastors Blunstone and Argent leading the minor key sermons. 

She Already Has Somebody is top notch all the way through. But this Flipper thinks it reaches it's zenith at the surprising and convincing music break starting at 1:20. The break starts with a little bit of a Pete Townshend influenced dead pickup switching and then rolls into a peppy drum beat. The lead then changes keys and goes into beautiful stutter rhythm. The Flip-Side, I'm For Things You Do, is another wonderful rocker that shows great restraint and mousy vocals.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: The Werp's - Love's A Fire.

We're back after a wonderful weekend with more Battle of the Bands for the The Mid-Atlantic Region.

Today we play a record by a band with the miserable name of The Werp's. Not sure why they have a possessive apostrophe in their name. The band hailed from Somerville, New Jersey and recorded only one record for WGW Records in 1967. That song is the catchy Love's A Fire.  But what we present to you today is not really that record. You see the one released was a much faster number with the guitar mixed way down, the organ mixed way up and some poppy horns scatting all over the song. It's okay, but the horns drive me crazy. So what we give you is an earlier unreleased take of Love's A Fire thanks to the hard work of Tim Warren from the Back From The Grave series. This version is a little slower, has the nice guitar hook at the beginning and gets a good non-Herb Alpert type mix. It also clocks in at a minute longer.

The song was written by J. Serenko and J. Matzko and recorded in New York city. Don't know too much more. Below is a YouTube link to the released version.

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

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!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New York Spotlight: And the winner is...

The accounting firm of Flip and Side have tabulated the ballots and, in a nail biter of a race, we are pleased to announce The Blues Magoos have won the New York Battle of the Bands with their double sided psych gem, We Ain't Got Nothing Yet b/w Gotta Get Away. The Blues Magoos will join the winners of the New England Battle of the Bands, The Squires, and sit in the green room until they move on to the next round once all of the regions have been decided.

Next up, New Jersey/Delaware/Pennsylvania. As usual, we'll take suggestions of which 10 records to feature. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

New York Spotlight: The Groupies - Primitive

Our final Battle of the Bands in New York. Today we feature the Greenwich Village band, The Primitives. The primordial quintet's only release was Primitive/Hog on Atco Records in January of 1966. We're spinning the A-Side today, the band composed, Primitive. It's a clear tip of the hat to Howlin' Wolf's Smokestack Lightnin' but with a decided garage bent and some real 'don't screw with me' lyrics.
The things that I do
You'd never try
What I get free
You gotta Buy
I'm proud of my life
Don't ask me why
Because If I told you
I'd probably...
Primitive, that's how I live
Primitive, I take what you give
Because I love
and I live,
That wraps up our New York Spotlight. We'll announce the winner of the 10-band Battle Of The Bands tomorrow.

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