Thursday, July 16, 2009

Neal Ford & The Fanatics - Neal Ford & The Fanatics (1968)

Mp3\68Mb
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NEAL FORD & THE FANATICS were a 1960's rock band from Houston, Texas. They released one LP on the Hickory label, along with a number of singles on Hickory and other labels. Their songs were strong and the band was tight, playing regularly at skating rinks, shopping malls and night clubs like The Catacombs and The Living Eye.
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PERSONNEL (in 1968; left to right in photo)
NEAL FORD - vocals
LANIER GREIG - keyboards
JOHN CRAVEY - drums
W.T. JOHNSON - bass guitar 
JON PERELES - guitar and vocals 
JOHNNY STRINGFELLOW - guitar 
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The Fanatics is a happening all its own. It all started when Neal - alias "Daddy Frog" - left a group he had been playing with in favor of starting his own. W.T. "Dub" Johnson was drafted into the movement when he went guitar-shopping at a Houston department store where Neal was working. "Big Jon" Pereles came abroad in much the same manner a few days later.
Drawing in a couple of old friends, "Baby John" Cravey and Johnny "String" Stringfellow, the boys were off and rolling in February 1965. Lanier "Idiot" Greig, organ impresario extraordinarius and clown prince to end all princes, joined the group later. After endless name calling sessions, "Big Jon" is more or less credited with pinning the Fanatics name on the group. The name stuck - and so Houston and the nation are swinging with a way out group that's really "IN". (from the Fanatics Fan Club booklet)
With the above promo text, I thing we get an idea of the years (and language) when the Fanatics created their music.

Neal Ford & the Fanatics are a common name in countless 60s compilations, from Psychedelic Archaeology to Garage Beat and everything in between. Their singles are compiled in numerous 60s series, and they sure deserve it: catchy tunes, classic cases of unknown garage gems. But Neal Ford & the Fanatics, after this series of singles, released an LP in 1968, which remains a well kept secret until today.
While the singles are the wylde-beat garage we all know, the LP goes closer to the psychedelic/pop side. A look at the credits is enlightening: none of the songs is credited to Neal Ford (or to be presise we meet Ford's name twice - as a co-writer along with Pereles and Greig). Jon Pereles has the lion's share, a couple of tracks are credited to Lanier Greig and there's a cover of Mickey Newbury's "One Times One Ain't Two"
Don't expect 13 Floor Elevators type psychedelia, though - the band indeed moved from the three chord garage of their singles and seems more mellow (especially in the B-side) compared with their earlier raw sound. This doesn't mean that "Neal Ford & the Fanatics" is a bad record: it continues the finest 60s 3-chord tradition. It's just impossible to make an LP with 12 tracks that could stand as singles - only Moby Grape did that in the last 45 years with their first album.
After 4 years together as a band, the Fanatics had matured as musicians, and they could play something more complex songs than their garage numbers. It was not 1966 anymore and they had to move on. They don't try to find new ways in music, they just make nice songs for the teens that were dancing at the Catacombs Club, in 1968.
After the Fanatics, Neal Ford released an LP as "The Neal Ford Foundation" (1971) and then became a preacher  and Lanier Greig formed a band called ZZ-Top with Billy Gibbons.
Thanks  Lost -in -Time
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A Side:
 Gonna Be My Girl
Nothing Left To Do
Bitter Bells
That Girl Of Mine
Get Together With Me
Get In The Rhythm

B Side:

 One Times One Ain't Two
Contrary Mary
(I've Got A) Brand New Girl
Wait For Me
I Have Thoughts Of You
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