Monday, June 30, 2014

The Kinks - She's Got Everything

Here is a peculiar single from The Kinks. The single Days/She's Got Everything was released in the Summer of 1968 both in the UK (on Pye Records) and the US on Reprise Records as a desperation move by management. The previous single, Wonderboy, had bombed and Ray Davies had not yet completed his work for the album, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. Days is an unlikely candidate for an A-Side, for sure. A good track, but more of an album track than a lead single. But it is the Flip-Side we are looking at today (of course we are).

The Flip-Side of the single was a song recorded more than two years prior, in the Spring of '66. The Ray Davies composition, She's Got Everything, was recorded during the sessions for the album Face To Face. Why the tremendous She's Got Everything was left off that fine album is up for debate. Some have said it was too dated for 1966. It was certainly dated (in a good way) by the time it saw the official release in June of '68. Rock at the time was getting hard and heavy and She's Got Everything is light and poppy. doot do-do, doot do-do-do. Thank goodness Ray decided to reach into the way-back machine for this one.

On a side note, I just picked this one up on a road-trip through Kentucky. Who woulda thunk?
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Lucius - Turn It Around

The band known as Lucius hails from Brooklyn, New York, where it is now legally mandated that all men have ironic facial hair. Some of the women too. We first featured this band a year ago when they appeared on NPR's Tiny Desk series. They were one EP into their budding career. They now have a fine full length album, Wildewoman, out on Mom and Pop Records (cool name) that features many of those songs found on the EP. We'll feature today, a song that first appeared on that original EP. The song is the infectious Turn It Around. We never grow tired of the number. Lucius is currently touring. Go see them if you can.

And as a bonus, here they are doing a live version of Go Home.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jessica Lea Mayfield - I Wanna Love You

Hailing from Kent, Ohio, Jessica Lea Mayfield, learned her craft as she performed as a kid in the family band. Both her parents and her brother are playing around the midwest as we type. The youngest of the family seems to be stretching her reach the furtherst. With her fourth album, Make My Head Sing, released just weeks ago on ATO Records, Mayfield explores a more aggressive sonic palette than she has in the past. Her first single from the album, I Wanna Love You, tells the tale of her own real life stalker as sung from his perspective.

Jessica Lea Mayfield is out touring now. Check her out if you can.  Sadly, this is yet another show I had to miss because of work travel. Argh.

Sticking in a video of her and her brother performing together.

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shovels And Rope - Hollowpoint Tooth, 1200 Miles

Shovels and Rope, the husband and wife team of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, came on the music scene in 2008. Their eponymous first cd, released late that year, got the 180 gram treatment by Dualtone Records in 2013 and my wife eagerly nabbed a copy. Skeptical at first, I was easily converted.  It is all over the folk, blues and rock map, evoking at times the likes of Nick Cave, Thom York, Geeshie Wiley, Jack White and Steve Earle.

Of course Shovels and Rope are just drawing on their sources, but they also stand firmly in their own sound and ideas.  It's a great album.

Listen here to a couple divergent numbers to get a taste of their lovely first effort:

Hollowpoint Tooth:

1200 Miles:
See you on the Flip-side!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jack White - Would You Fight For My Love?

Jack White's second solo album debuted last week at the top of the large part because of strong vinyl sales. How about them apples? The excellent album, Lazaretto, can be purchased anywhere including direct from Third Man Records here. Sadly the Ultra LP seems to be sold out already. Today we feature the 4th song on this most perfect of albums, Would You Fight For My Love? 

We'll let Jack's own words do all the talking. He's on tour so go see him.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Black Keys - In Time

We're going to spend all week spinning some modern stuff. I know it's not generally our bailiwick here at On The Flip-Side, but I specifically want to play music from some bands that are touring this Summer and have stuff fresh in the record bins. We'll start today with a nice mellow track from The Black Keys' new album, Turn Blue on Nonesuch RecordsThe song is the falsetto driven, In Time. My fave track off this solid album. You can buy the record anywhere and you can check them out on tour here. They've come a long way since I first saw them at The Ottobar in Baltimore cranking out some R.L. Burnside riffs they were calling their own.

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

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Motions - It's Gone

The Motions hailed from musical hotbed of The Hague in the Netherlands. The quartet was the most mod of the fast growing Nederbiet scene that swept the country after UK bands started crossing the channel. Both sides of The Motions debut single, It's Gone/I've Got Misery, were penned by guitarist, Robbie Van Leeuwen. The A-Side, our featured song today, is a powerful mod raver in the first order. It was released on Havoc Records in their native Holland during February, 1965. Quite amazingly the record enjoyed a rare US release on Congress Records two months later. The rest of the band was Henk Smitskamp on bass, Sieb Warner on drums and Rudy Bennett on vocals. 

Van Leeuwen would go on to form Shocking Blue and compose the hit Venus as well as the unique Love Buzz, which Nirvana covered on their first album. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Action - Never Ever

It's not always acknowledged that while British bands in the early to mid sixties were clearly obsessed with American rock-n-roll, they were equally drawn to American soul and Motown recordings. Us Flipsters like to talk about it a lot. For every Brit-covered blues or rock-n-roll song by Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley or Willie Dixon, you are likely to also find something by Holland-Dozier-Holland, Jerry Ragovoy, Garnet Mimms or Solomon Burke. This was especially true in the mod, art school music scene of The Who, The Rolling Stones, Small Faces, The Creation, and The Zombies. Yet, despite the prominence of these bands, no act "got" this early soul sound quite like the lesser known act, The Action.

Based out of London and known in '64 as The Boys, they had released one single by the time the boys changed their name to The Action in '65. In the span of their career The Action released a mere five singles, all on Parlophone, and all not charting one bit. Their fourth release was their first foray into original material and featured two group-penned songs, the A-side of which is today's song, Never Ever, perhaps the pinnacle of the British reinterpretation of American soul music from this era. Released in January 1967 this was their only record to also see release in the U.S., on Capitol Records later the same year.

While much of popular - and experimental - music at the time was careening into psychedelia or heavier blues based rock, The Action managed to record this relatively tame, sober - and brilliant - soul number. At this point, I believe, The Action were a four piece band, with the highly-esteemed Reg King on vocals, Alan King on guitar and vocals, Mike Evans on bass and vocals, and Roger Powell on drums.  The producer here and on the other releases was one George Martin, a name that rings a bell. Perhaps it was his idea to add a horn section and put some backtracked cymbal (to my ears) at various crucial moments here. In any case he seems to know what he's doing.
See another post looking at The Action's cover of I'll Keep Holding On here.

See you on the Flip-side!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Song of the Week: Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps - Race With the Devil/Gonna Back Up Baby

Race With The Devil
Gonna Back Up Baby
[originally published on 8/20/13. Reposted today in honor of Cliff Gallup's birthday]
For my money, Gene Vincent's second single, was the best he and the Blue Caps ever did. Race With The Devil was written by Gene Vincent (I discount all cases of the manager being given equal writing credit, as is the case on this disc) and recorded in Nashville on May 1st, 1956. This was the same inaugural session that provided yesterday's double sided gem, Be-Bop-A-Lula and Woman Love.

Race With The Devil is well named. This song sounds just like one would think a race with a devil would sound. If those races had soundtracks, that is. The highlight of the song is without question the two guitar breaks by Cliff Gallup. The tone, attack and stylings of his two solos typify Rockabilly perhaps better than any other song. Gallup used a 1955 Gretsch Duojet played through his Standel 25L15 amp and his home made echo box to create the delicious tone.

We're also giving you the Flip-Side, Gonna Back Up Baby, which showcases Gallup's Bigsby vibrato in great form. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Song of the Week: The Cryan' Shames - Ben Franklin's Almanac

I've been digitizing records all day today. Came across this gem from a band I don't much like, The Cryan Shames. They charted with Sugar and Spice. Pure putrid pop. But this flip, Ben Franklin's Almanac, written by the young guitarist, Jim Friars, is magnificent. Might I even say...perfect. And here it is on the original label, Destination, before they got picked up for national circulation on Columbia and charted.

This also marks the second appearance of a band with a member who has only one hand. And the other is?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Song of the Week: Bill Kirchen - Looking at the World Through A Windshield

[originally published on 7.12.10]
It's time for another truck driving song. The whole Flip-Side family just completed a 3500 mile drive through two countries and, despite being forced to commandeer a mundane blue mini-van, felt quite truckerish the whole trip. We ate beef jerky, drank bad coffee, got a trucker's tan (left arm only), contemplated buying a trucker's buddy and wistfully wished I had a CB handle like my road weary brethren.

And so it is, we have a truck driving song. In this installment of SOTW, we get legendary guitarist and all around good guy, Bill Kirchen delivering to us some kick ass truck driving music. And it's live, like it should be. The song is the Del Reeves number, Looking At The World Through A Windshield, and under Kirchen's "master of the telecaster" approach, the number gets a massive dose of guitar steroids as Kirchen tells the tale of a second generation truck driver who watches the world pass by on the right.

Astute music historians may recognize Bill Kirchen from the ground breaking road house group, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen which put out some fine music in the early 70's out of the San Francisco area. Since then Kirchen has been (for the most part) Washington DC-based and a formative figure, along with Danny Gatton and Roy Buchannan, in making our Capitol City thee Telecaster town in the USA.

Enjoy our SOTW, always keep an eye out for the bear on your tail and the smokey in the air. Over and out good buddies. This is Snuggly Bear, saying see you on the flip-side.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Margie Hendrix - Now The Hurts On You/I Found My Love

Now The Hurts On You
I Found My Love
It's a shame that such a talented person is largely unknown to the public. But you've heard her voice before. 

Born Marjorie Hendricks outside of Statesboro, Georgia in 1935, our hero today performed under the stage name Margie Hendrix and is best known for being Ray Charles' lead Raelette starting around 1955. (we wrote about a post-Margie Raelettes single a few weeks ago, here). It's Margie who goes toe to toe with Ray on such hits as Hit The Road Jack and Drown In My Own Tears. In 1964 she was released as a Raelette not too long after giving birth to Ray's love child. At this time she embarked on a solo career that garnered little to no attention. Her second single for Mercury Records, released sometime in 1965, shows what a powerful voice she possessed. 

The A-Side of the single, Now The Hurts On You, is a wonderful big production number that demonstrates Margie's smoldering voice as it rises from a cool demeanor to her infamous blues growl. 

The Flip-Side, I Found My Love, was co-written by Margie and comes across like a great lost Ray Charles single, replete with Raelette like backing vocals. Ms. Hendrix holds nothing back. 

Margie died in July of 1973. It is very unclear how she died. Substance abuse, cancer and car accident are all rumored to be the cause of her demise. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Busker Days: T.T. Fingers - Dust My Broom

I came across veteran busker T.T. Fingers last year on a Market Street corner. He plays a mean blues on a homemade lap steel guitar. He told me he and a friend made it one night in '87 drinking chimay and he has used it ever since. Apparently someone had stolen is previous guitar. For years he worked the busker circuit in Europe and gigged a bit too. I'm not sure how he got the name T.T. Fingers but I suspect it has something to do with him having only two fingers. That's right two fingers. Total. Take that Django! He uses the two fingers for plucking and gets around the whole fretting issue by ignoring frets altogether and strapping a slide on the end of his arm. Listen to this nice, big-hearted guy tearin' up some blues with his take on Elmore James's Dust My Broom!
Earlier days gigging in Belgium in the '70s:
Until next time, Flip-Side!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Video Diary: The Pink Floyd - See Emily Play

I believe this is The Pink Floyd's first performance on Top of the Pops from July 6, 1967. Long believed gone this partially recovered video surfaced in 2010 and is the only surviving video of their three appearances on the show that month. Pretty Cool.
See you on the Flip-Side!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Spidells - Find Out What's Happening

With a history of doo-wop singles, The Spidells broke their own mold when they recorded Find Out What's Happening in Nashville, Tennessee for the Monza label in 1964. Vocalists James Earl Smith, Lee Roy Cunningham, Nathaniel Shelton, Michael Young and Billy Lockridge deliver such an infectious, uplifting R&B groove that I challenge you to listen to it and remain still (not possible). It was written and produced by Nashville veteran Jerry Crutchfield who continues to be active in country music production. Crutchfield may also be a studio musician here too. This number hopped the Atlantic for a further excellent effort by Downliners Sect later that same year.

Until next time see you on the Flip-Side!