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.