Monday, March 31, 2014

The Leaves: Hey Joe, Where Are You Gonna Go?

First Version
Second Version
Third Version
I think we have a fun one for you today. The Leaves scored the first hit of the oft-covered Hey Joe in April of 1966. But it wasn't the band's first release of Hey Joe that was the hit. It wasn't even the second. It was their third attempt!

The Leaves allegedly picked up the Billy Roberts composed folk song, Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go?, from seeing the two titans of Sunset Strip, The Byrds and Love perform the song. The Leaves smelled a hit and rushed to the studio to record the number before either The Byrds or Love could do so. Sometime in the early Autumn of 1965, Jim Pons, Robert Lee Reiner, John Beck, Bill Rinehart and Tom Ray recorded the number.

Mira Records issued that recording as a White Label Promo with the catalogue number 207 in November of 1965. This first release was a loose, fast-paced attack on the song. The sound quality is iffy at best. The drums smash away with high hats ringing endlessly. At about the 2:19 point Jim Pons' and John Beck's vocals become so off-sync that one of them reverts to laughter. The recording feels like the quick, live-in-studio take that it apparently was. Quite frankly, it is amazing it ever got pressed. The single was never released to the record stores as someone, somewhere rightly deemed this unfit for public release.

The band then went back into the studio and recorded a second version of Hey Joe, Where Are You Gonna Go?. A cleaner approach, this version is most obviously distinguished by periodic whistles throughout the song. John Beck's and Jim Pons' vocals are far more clear and the performance is more steady. This was released to the public as a stock copy (still with catalogue number 207) sometime in very early 1966. Note that neither the first while label promo version or the stock black label version of Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go? cites a composer of the song. Both versions have the Pons-Rinehart composed Be With You as the Flip-Side. Rinheart's name misspelled on both versions.
About this time, guitarist Bill Rinehart split from the band. Maybe he was pissed that his name was misspelled. The Leaves brought in guitarist Bobby Arlin and rearranged the song replete with a fuzz lead guitar laying down the ascending guitar riff that is now a trademark of the song and a distinctive IV-I-IV-II-V bridge (at the 1:21 mark). The band went into the studio and re-recorded the song and Mira Records released the number for the third time in April, 1966 with catalogue number 222 first as a white label promo and then, two weeks later, as a stock copy. This version took off and reached number 31 on the Billboard charts. The song title was shortened to the radio friendly Hey Joe and writing credit was wrongly given to Dino Valenti. The Flip-Side of the Mira Records #222 release was the Bobby Arlin composed, Funny Little World. To further confuse the matter, Mira Records then ran a second pressing of the record with a red label and a different Flip-Side of Girl From The East. In between, they released a totally different Leaves single (Funny Little World/Girl From The East) with the same friggin' catalogue number! Clear as mud, right?
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Song of the Week: The Lyrics - Mr. Man/Wait

We're back on this Friday with a very quick post (busy day today at Flip-Side's Rocky Mountain HQ).

We return to San Diego's The Lyrics. We posted about them two days ago. But this is a fundamentally different band than the one we spun two days ago. The lead singer and lead guitarist that was on that kick-ass record had left the band in '65. By the time this, the band's swan song, was released in September of '67, Craig Carll had taken over the helm of The Lyrics. Craig Carll wrote both sides here and sings both Mr. Man and the superior Flip-Side, Wait. The very good blog, Flower Bomb Songs, has the best info on this Lyrics. I won't plagiarize or regurgitate their work, but instead point you to more info here.

Many pics on that site from bassist Dan Garcia. One important photo shows them recording Wait. Please note that the room is filled with middle-aged session musicians! All photos here, courtesy of Dan Garcia's My Space page.

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Song of the Week: Francois Breut & Calexico - Si Tu Disais

François Breut
{originally published, March 21, 2009}
Mick Jagger once proclaimed in song, "it's the singer, not the song." In our case of the Song of the Week, this week, we argue the exact opposite. And in so doing, as we did with Train Kept A-Rollin', we explore a song as performed by more than one artist.

In this installment of SoTW, we focus on a song called Si Tu Disais. The song was written by a French pop singer and performed by his wife. Her name is Françoiz Breut and her husband's composition first appeared on her 2001 album entitled Vingt a Trente Mille Jours, which, if my French is as good as I think it is, roughly translates to "On the Flip-Side is just so dang illuminating that I can't stop reading and listening to it." Ironic, huh? Breut's original recording is a beautifully produced number whose swirling reverb-drenched guitars and soaring string section lift the song beyond the cafe jazz number that the ditty really is at its core. Breut's voice is understated and conversational, almost spoken instead of sang, allowing the song to amble along at a severely relaxed pace much like an old dog walking down a dusty road in the heat of Summer. It's not going anywhere fast or with any intense purpose. It just is. And that is enough. We tell ourselves we don't need to understand the words to understand the mood.
Move now a few years to 2004 and across thousands of miles to dusty Tucson, Arizona. The music collective known as Calexico pick up the song with the same languid pace. But now the song is sung in English and given a Spanish guitar dominant production. As is Calexico's bailiwick, the band replaces the strings with Mariachi horns and posits the lead musical refrain into the domain of the pedal steel guitar. Joey Burns' voice progresses at a similar whispered pace as Breut's, but now in English, and sung by a male, it takes on a desperate quality that was not readily notable to a non French speaker on Breut's version. The song is about escape, turning the page, stagnation, and the realization of the person speaking the words that they have come to despise the person with whom they have made a life.

Enjoy both versions and have a wonderful week.

Vinyl Frontier: Muhummadi Ali

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Song of the Week: The Lemon Drops - I Live In The Springtime

Happy Vernal Equinox! We have to spin a Spring fling track today for you to celebrate.

I Live In The Springtime was recorded at RCA studios on May 1, 1967 by six teens who called themselves The Lemon Drops. They all hailed from McHenry High School in the Eastern suburbs of Chicago. The band was comprised of 16-year old Danny Smola on vocals, 14-year old Eddie Weiss on guitar, 16-year old Gary Weiss on drums, 17-year old Jeff Brandt on bass, 16-year old George Sorrenson on lead guitar and Ricky Erickson (age unknown) on third guitar! Three guitars?

The song was written and produced by Roger (aka, Reggie) Weiss who formed the label to give his little brothers an outlet for their band. The first run of records was only 500 pressings. Upon receiving the disc, the pubescent teens realized that Gary's drums had been totally removed from the mix and much of the lead work was missing. None-the-less, local radio station WLS spun the record. The boys were able to scrape together enough money to press another 1000 copies. This time with the guitar and drums mixed back in. But they couldn't get any more money for more pressings. Thus, only 1500 copies made it into circulation.

My copy, shown above, is one of the first 500 pressed, sans drums. The music stream we sample for you, however, is from the superior second pressing. Enjoy your Spring Fling!

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Song of the Week: The Stooges - Search And Destroy

[originally posted 9/13/2010]
We just read at the hep-cat blog, Nitro-Retro, that Stooges drummer Scott Asheton has died at 64. RIP. Here is an old post on The Stooges regurgitated for you to enjoy Scott's work today. 

Detroit is a rough and tumble town. Broken windows, broken concrete and broken noses abound in this city of a broken economy. That profile fits it's music too. In the late 60's Detroit birthed two of the most violent, ugly, out of time bands that ever committed noise to wax. One was the way cool MC5 (watch their way cool live vid here), and the other is the karate blow of a band, The Stooges, the band best known for thrusting Iggy Pop onto the world.

Today's SOTW, is Search and Destroy, the single from Iggy and The Stooges critically acclaimed third album, Raw Power and was recorded in the Fall of '72. I think the name of the song and the name of the album say everything that needs to be said. So sit back, and enjoy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Song of the Week: Little Richard - I Don't Know What You Got, But It's Got Me

Something about I Don't Know What You Got, But It's Got Me just melts my soul.

Little Richard's days in the sun were setting by the time he recorded this Don Covay penned number in October of 1965 for Vee Jay Records, but the quality of Little Richard Penniman's work sure wasn't. Here we have the hugely influential rock-n-roll pioneer exploring his gospel roots, and lordy-lord, does he testify. Just like the wonderful Don Covay track to which we just linked, the guitarist on this track is none other than Jimi Hendrix. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

And what an awesome photo we have for you below. Mercy. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Empty Streets: I'm Not Going To Worry About You/You Can Make It

It's not everyday that we feature a song with bongos, glockenspiel and backtracking, but you get them all from today's Side A, I'm Not Going To Worry About You by Salem, Ohio's The Empty Streets. Yes, this is our second Ohio artist in one week! The band consisted of John Vail on guitar and vocals, Larry Siddle (on ?) Mark Riffle on bass, Mike Riffle on keyboards (and glockenspiel!) and Ian Robinson on skins.

They recorded in the attic of an Ohio garage in June of 1967 and then mixed and pressed the songs in Pennsylvania where I'm Not Going To Worry About You got some vocal and lead overdubbing and the flip, You Can Make It, remained as recorded in the attic.  Both sides are penned by band member John Vail and display a keen pop sensibility for which I have no ready comparison. They are in their own universe. Sit back and enjoy!

All information furnished by the reliable Buckeye Beat which chronicles '60s music out of the buckeye state. I'd love to get a picture of this band. Anyone?

See you on the Flip-Side!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Song of the Week: Betty Everett - Been A Long Time

From November of 1969, we have for you today, soul veteran Betty Everett performing Been A Long Time. The number was written by Philadelphia song writers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff as well as soul singer Jerry Butler (of The Impressions fame). 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Song of the Week: The Rebounds - (I'm Not Your Stepping Stone)

Hailing from the State Capitol of Columbus, The Rebounds were a quintet of pimply faced High School cats from Brookhaven High School in Ohio. Early in '66 the snot nosed punks recorded (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone for Tower Records after winning a local Battle of the Bands competition. The song had already been recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders but by the time Tower released The Rebounds' version in November, The Monkees put their mark on So-Ci-E-Tee by releasing The Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart composition as the Flip-Side of I'm A Believer the very same week as The Rebounds. The Rebounds, which were, according to the website, Buckeye Beat, Bob Bishop, Tom Williams, Will Finch, Brady Wanger, and Dave Manley, failed to rebound from the simian beat down they received from the Pre-Fab Four. The Rebounds never released another single. Too bad for us.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Song of the Week: The Next Five - Talk To me Girl

[read the comments section below for some insight from the song's composer and singer, Eric Olson]
 The Next Five hailed from the Milwaukee superb of Brookfield, Wisconsin where the band became a fixture on the local teen scene. The band released three singles between '67 and '69 (one as The Toy Factory) on three different labels.

We share with you today, their second single, released on Wand Records in December of '67. More specifically, we share the Flip-Side of their second single. The song is the infectious pop number, Talk To Me Girl, written by the band's singer Eric Olson. According to one interview I read with Olson, the song was composed and recorded at the studio when they were pressed for another song to accompany their perfectly okay cover of The Shirelles' Mama Said. Eric Olson played the catchy piano part, Steve Thomas on guitar, Gordy Wayne Olski on bass, Mark Buscaglia on organ and Tom Ashbolt Stewart was on drums. 

Eric Olson has his own website chock full-O photos and vids. Check it out here.  It's a good browse with more of their music. We swiped a photo from that site as well as a super 8 movie of the band on stage. How cool is that? Check it out below. 

Video Diary: The Band - King Harvest

Richard Manuel died at his own hand 28 years ago today.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Song of the Week: Nobody's Children - Don'tcha Feel Like Cryin'

Nobody's Children hailed from the Washington, DC bedroom community of Bethesda, Maryland. To the best of my knowledge they released this one and only single, a tepid cover of a Hollies song on Side-A and this self penned upbeat number, Don'tcha Feel Like Cryin', on the Flip-Side. It was released on Bullet Records in 1967 and later picked up by Buddah Records for national distribution in 1968. I know very little about these cats other than Lee Travers, one of the songwriters on this number, played guitar and sang for the band. If you told me that was Joey Ramone singing, I would have believed you.

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