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!

Friday, November 14, 2014

New York Spotlight: The Rogues - You Better Look Now

The New York Spotlight continues!

Today's song comes from The Rogues out of Buffalo. The Rogues were James Pierotti on vocals, Michael Spriggs on lead guitar, Dave Smith on rhythm guitar, Robert Radel on bass and Gary Jaros on drums. They had a big following in the area and even had their own nightclub, The Rogues Gallery, which apparently would book them quite regularly. The guys released at least two, some say three, singles and we're gonna have a listen to the flip-side of their first single, You Better Look Now written by James, Michael and Robert and, like a previous New York Spotlight feature, was released on Audition. Frankly, it's among the finest examples of a garage pop ballad out there. It's really well- crafted with a lovely jangly reverby sound and a great little guitar solo to boot, but it's the sincere lyrics delivered soulfully over a perfect melody that drives it home. I also dig how the refrain seems to appear out of nowhere not to be seen or heard from again. It must have been tempting to throw it in again after every verse, but they didn't, and the result is perfection. Thanks guys! The A-side is an awesome version of Train Kept-a-Rollin too.

Like many, I first heard this song as performed by The Chesterfield Kings in the mid '80s and you can read more about it here.

The Rogues have a facebook page where our photos were found. Flower Bomb Songs has a bunch of fan photos too.
See you on the Flip-Side!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New York Spotlight: The Blues Project - No Time Like The Right Time

We're in our final three days of being in an Empire State of Mind. We started in the big mean city with The Blues Magoos who made a name for themselves in Greenwich Village. Now we turn to another Greenwich Village band. The Blues Project. The band only lasted two years but put out an amazing amount of music in that brief period. Today we focus on their fifth single, released in March of 1967 for Verve Folkways Records. The song is the Al Kooper penned, No Time Like The Right Time. Other members are Danny Kalb, Roy Blumenfeld, Steve Katz and Tommy Flanders.

Al Kooper had been playing as a session guitarist when he was called into a session with Bob Dylan. Mike Bloomfield was also at that session and Kooper saw he had little chance. He switched to organ for the Like A Rolling Stone session and then joined The Blues Project as an organ player. He should also be lauded for being the person who pushed The Zombies and Columbia Records to finish their swan song of an album.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New York Spotlight: The Invictas - The Hump

We return to New York with our regional Battle of the Bands taking us to the Empire State for the 7th straight post.

It's Wednesday, hump day, so we have to travel to Rochester where we spin a fast paced number by a band calling themselves The Invictas. The song is called The Hump and it only clocks in at 2 minutes. Which, according to recent research, is, rather ironically, the average amount of time it do The Hump. The Invictas were Herb Gross, Dave Hickey, Jim Kohler, and Mark Blumenfeld. This rockin' number was penned by the frontman, Herb Gross and was conceived on a dance floor.
One night in 1963, while playing at Tiny’s Bengel Inn, a couple was dancing provocatively in front of the stage. Herb asked the couple what they were doing. The couple responded “We’re Humping.” A week later, Herb had a dance and song ready for the band called “The Hump". The crowd loved the song and dance. Word got out about The Invictas wild sound and a recording executive by the name of Steve Brodie from Sahara Records turned up to offer them a contract. For the recording session, the band brought about 30 of their friends and several cases of beer into the studio. The band wanted to capture their wild live sound. It worked, “The Hump” became a hit. (The Invictas band website)
The band released their rollicking, beer fueled number on Sahara Records in August of 1966. It was The Invictas third single (of four). They even got a full length album out of Sahara Records! The band is still active today. Not bad you crazy Invictas.
 Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New York Spotlight: The Jagged Edge - You Can't Keep A Good Man Down / How She's Hurtin Me

Day six of our New York Spotlight. Brooklyn artists The Jagged Edge released today's great double-sider in April of 1966 on Gallant Records. According to at least one source it gets some traction in the greater metropolitan area with You Can't Keep A Good Man Down. And really, what young man rejected by his soul mate doesn't want to glue his broken self together via this tale of personal triumph over girl adversity? The very act of listening to this will help you re-write the script of your teenhood lost love to include this line: "Her love is cheaper by the pound!" Be sure to not miss out on the guitar harmonics at the end - that's a garage rarity.

Move to the flip-side and you get the slightly moodier and byrdsier How She's Hurtin Me. This one starts off with a jazzy bass and drums that calls to mind Horace Silver (anyone?) before it enters the song proper, only to exit with the same arrangement. It betrays some more great songwriting by rhythm guitarist Drew Georgopulis who also takes credit for side A. Other members of this young outfit include Elliot Ingber on vocals, Art Steinman on lead guitar, Harley Wishner on bass and Kenney Bennett on Drums. They recorded one more very cool single on Jubilee as the Offset a few months later.

An informative interview with Steinman and Wishner over at Flower Bomb Songs can be found here.

Until next time, see you on the Flip-Side!

Monday, November 10, 2014

New York Spotlight: The Third Bardo - I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time

Back to New York city for our Battle of the Bands - New York edition.

The Third Bardo hailed from the big city. The band was Jeff Monn on guitar and vocals, Ricky Goldklang on guitar, Bruce Ginsberg on drums, Damian Kelly on bass and Richy Seslowe on guitar. The group only recorded one single. But what a single it was. The single was released in May of 1967 on Roulette Records and featured two songs written by R. Evans-V.Pike. I don't know who they are but their two compositions are killers. Particularly the prescient A-Side of I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time.

The band grabbed their name (allegedly) from a Tibetan Book Of The Dead. The Third Bardo apparently references the experience of reality.

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New York Spotlight: The Humans - Warning

More New York Battle of the Bands! Today we have a record from the tiny hamlet of Albion, New York, located between Rochester and Niagra off the shores of Lake Ontario. The Humans were a sextet of High Schoolers: Jack Dumrese, Gar Truselle, Dick Doolan, Marty Busch and Danny Long. They called themselves the very non-Animal name of...The Humans.

Today's song was the Flip-Side of their only single, released on Audition Records in 1966. Lead guitarist, Bill Kuhns wrote both the folky A-Side, and this, the rip-roaring Flip-Side. Warning tells the tried and true tale of a love gone bad. Dick Doolan and Danny Long trade vocals as the two throw up the caution sign for this girl. 
Well that's the last I'm gonna tell you
You better listen to me
I got something to say child.
You better listen to me
Yeah, I'm giving you the warning!
Yeaaaaah baby!

According to comments left at, Danny Long died in a car crash not long after this number was recorded. The band struggled along before the draft started to eat at The Humans like a Zombie-Apocalypse Now.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New York Spotlight: The Left Banke - She May Call You Up Tonight and Barterers and Their Wives

We are back after a couple of days off with more garage rock from the Empire State. Today we take a classical turn with The Left Banke. The Left Banke are one of those bands that lived largely in the studio. The band was Michael Brown on keyboards, Tom Finn on bass, Steve Martin on vocals, George Cameron on guitar and Warren David-Schierhorst on drums. Michael Brown's father was an established symphony violinist and he was instrumental in producing and managing his son's band. So it was, the Left Banke went straight from rehearsals to the studio.

Considering the father who was mentoring the band, it is not surprising that the band's first song was a string laden number with violin at the fore. That number, Walk Away Renee, turned into something of a hit for the music collective in the Summer of 1966. The number was co-written by the band's bard, Michael Brown, who also composed the band's wonderful follow-up hit that same year, the symphonically arranged, Pretty Ballerina. Then the management got cocky. Did they really need the band? The third single, released in the Winter of 1967 only featured Michael Brown who co-wrote both numbers with professional songwriters. Steve Martin's delicate, stuffy-nose styled vocal lead would be replaced with a falsetto vocal by Bert Sommer. Occasional On The Flip-Side visitor and comment-maker, Michael McKean (Best In Show, Spinal Tap, Laverne and Shirley) would serve as the guitarist for both tracks. The "Left Banke" sounded nothing like the previous two singles and deservedly flopped. The other four members of The Left Banke went into revolt filing suit against Smash Records, Michael Brown and his father.

Smash Records got jittery and withdrew that ill-fated single and instead released a single taken from the band's album. That fourth single, released in June of 1967, is what we feature today. She May Call You Up Tonight/Barterers And Their Wives. The A-Side was composed by Michael Brown and singer, Steve Martin (left and second from left in the photo below). It follows the time-tested Left Banke theme of a love triangle (Renee, the ballerina was a real person and was dating another member of the band). But the number doesn't have the strings of the previous hits. It was supposed to have them, but time was tight and the number was finished without them.  The Flip-Side, the quizzical, Barters And Their Wives, is composed by Brown and a professional songwriter. It's a beautiful number that plays up the band's baroque style nicely.

We're lifting a cool photo from the cool folk at Nitro-Retro Blog.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!