Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Challengers - The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1965)

One of the most popular of the early Southern Californian surf bands, the Challengers were formed by drummer Richard Delvy after he left the Bel-Airs, who had recorded one of the very first surf singles, "Mr. Moto." Their debut LP, Surfbeat (early 1963), was one of the very first all-instrumental surf albums and sold 200,000 copies, an astronomical number for a regional act. Recording several albums over the next couple of years, most of their repertoire consisted of covers of popular rock and surf tunes; undeniably exciting at the time, their lack of originality can make their work generic to wade through. The moody "K-39," also available on surf compilations, is their most famous cut.

01 - The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

02 - Walk With Me

03 - You've Got Your Troubles

04 - Everything To Me

05 - Secret Agent Man

06 - Catch Us If You Can

07 - The Streets Of London

08 - Tammy

09 - Action

10 - How Could I?

11 - My Girl Sloopy

12 - Summer Nights

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Sundowners - Captain Nemo (1968)

The Weekend Starts Here

Original Sixties Mod Classics

Still More Ultimate'66 Garage Classics! Vol.3

Still More Ultimate'66 Garage Classics! Vol.3
European Garage

The 48 songs on this double-CD collection originally appeared on the ten vinyl LPs in the European Pebbles series, itself a subset of Pebbles, the most well-known 1960s garage anthology series. All of the songs were by groups from Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland, which cultivated a lot of bands heavily influenced by the British Invasion, even if very few became known to English-speaking audiences. And, as with the thousands of garage bands in the United States during the mid-'60s, most of these groups were rawer in their execution, and less original than the British artists they emulated. There was still some good music to come out of this, though, and some very quirky stylistic ticks and song construction, perhaps due to the musicians' less-than-total grasp of the English language. This set has a decent number of excellent tracks, such as Rob Hoeke's moody blues-piano-based "When People Talk"; the very rare 1965 cut "Not to Find" by the Golden Earrings, which sounds like a hasty Beatles for Sale-era endeavor; the Meteors' fine tough pseudo-Merseybeat number "Anytime"; the Lee Kings' demented mod-psychedelic hybrid "Oriental Express"; Les Sauterelles' gripping cover of the Sorrows' "No No No"; and the Fabulous Four's insane version of the Rolling Stones' instrumental "2120 South Michigan Avenue" (here retitled "438 South Michigan Avenue"). On the other hand, there are numerous so-so originals without much going for them but enthusiasm, and too many unimaginative covers (usually of old rock/R&B standards). It's not a bad distillation of the European Pebbles series for those who don't want to get all of the original LPs, but it's not a great collection of European mid-'60s rock either.

Still More Ultimate'66 Garage Clasics ! Vol,2

To be cruel, this might have been more appropriately titled "The Inessential Pebbles." True, there are two discs and 55 songs' worth of rare '60s garage cuts here, none by anyone remotely famous even on a cult level (no, Neal Ford & the Fanatics do not count). Aside from a few reprises from the early Pebbles volumes on the first disc, though, it's pretty insubstantial stuff. It sounds worse than it would have in the late '70s, when this genre's existence was barely even acknowledged; by 1998, however, so much of it has been reissued that this collection really sounds second-rate next to, ironically, the original ten-volume Pebbles series. True, much of this has been previously unreissued, but as in any musical style, simple rarity and adherence to basic parameters of the idiom don't necessarily make for memorable music. Or, to put in language a rock fan can grasp, fuzz guitars, snotty vocals, put-down lyrics, and wild-and-craziness do not necessarily classics make. Garage/'60s collectors will already be familiar with the best cuts -- the Wig Wags' ominous "On My Way Down the Road," the Four Fifths' Byrds-like "If You Still Want Me," the Live Wires' bright and raw pop-psych-garage tune "Love," and the Soul Survivors' cover of the Isley Brothers' "Shakin' with Linda" -- from their early Pebbles vinyl volumes, although the addition of the Denims' compelling, minor-key "I'm Your Man" is nice. Other than that, surprisingly, some of the highlights are shopworn covers, like the Why Four's "Not Fade Away," the Night Watch's fuzz-and-organ-driven "Shake," and the Berries' "Baby Won't You Follow Me Down."

VA - The Essential Pebbles Collection Vol.1/ Ultimate'66 Garage Classics !

The Essential Pebbles Collection, Vol. 1 is a budget-priced, two-CD set that serves two functions. The first, fulfilled by disc one, is to distill the first ten volumes of the Pebbles '60s garage rock singles compilation series. The second is a bonus disc full of even more insanely rare material that has never appeared on Pebbles albums or myriad other '60s compilations. Considering the staggering amount of material reissued by Archive International, in addition to myriad '60s compilations released by other companies worldwide, casual observers of this phenomenon might wonder what the fuss is all about. The singles compiled by these releases are from an era where local bands' records shared airplay with the major hitmakers. The Pebbles series' most important accomplishment has been to provide a glimpse of the musical life beyond the hits in constant rotation on many oldies radio stations.

Pebbles compiles the best independent-label '60s singles that weren't national hits, but their local reputations have insured that the records trade for high prices on the collectors' markets. Lack of significant sales outside of its geographical region doesn't mean that the records lack polish; tracks like the Motifs' "Someday" demonstrate a mix of Motown and Atlantic soul influences with some of the harder-edged British Invasion group sounds, while the bands from Chicago have a bluesy sound but incorporate other influences as well, like the jagged Zombies-esque organ solo on the Omens' "Searching." There was even a Pebbles volume called Ear-Piercing Punk, showcasing the hardest-rocking songs, packaged to appeal to fans of the then-current wave of late-'70s punk. With this look back at its legacy, The Essential Pebbles Collection, Vol. 1 looks backward and forward at the same time, providing listeners with something old and new -- the true essence of garage rock compilations.

The Sundowners - Captain Nemo (1968)

While pop/rockers the Sundowners never scored a hit during their career in the mid-'60s, for such a little-known band they managed to cast a long shadow, touring with some of the biggest acts of the day and appearing on television and in major motion pictures. Formed in Lake George, NY in 1959, the original lineup of the Sundowners consisted of Eddie Brick on lead vocals, Dominick DeMieri on lead guitar and vocals, Eddie Placidi on guitar and vocals, Bobby Dick on bass and vocals, and Kim Capli on drums. In 1965, after earning a loyal local following, the group cut a single for the Coed Records label, "Leave Me Never" backed with a cover of Chuck Berry's "Around and Around." In 1966, the Sundowners moved to Los Angeles in hopes of shifting their career into high gear, and cut a second single for Filmways Records featuring two original songs, "Ring out Wild Bells" b/w "When the Sun Goes Down." In 1967, the Sundowners were playing an engagement at the famed Sunset Strip club Ciro's when Michael Nesmith of the Monkees saw the band perform; impressed, he invited them to join the group's summer concert tour as their opening act, and they also backed the Monkees for a show-closing medley of rock oldies. (The tour's openers also included Jimi Hendrix and Ike & Tina Turner, putting the Sundowners in excellent company.) In 1967, they were signed to Decca Records, and released the Beatlesque single "Always You" b/w "Dear Undecided"; the A-side was written by Tony Asher and Roger Nichols, and the sessions were produced by studio legend Bones Howe. In 1968, the band released their only LP, Captain Nemo, which was produced by guitarist DeMieri. While the album would become a cult favorite with fans of sunshine pop and light psychedelia, it didn't sell well, and the group fared better as actors in the year of its release. In February, the Sundowners guest starred as "The Raspberry Wristwatch" on "A Very Warm Reception," an episode of the espionage drama It Takes a Thief, while in September they appeared as "Sonny and the Sundowners" (with Paul Petersen playing their lead singer) on the "Song of Bertrille" episode of the comedy The Flying Nun. the Sundowners can also be seen and heard briefly in the movie Don't Make Waves, which starred Tony Curtis, Claudia Cardinale and Sharon Tate.

The Sundowners' sole album suffers from the problems afflicting many similarly obscure late-'60s pop/rock LPs on major labels. One, the group can't really decide what they want to be, which though leading to some admirable versatility, also ensures a sort of anonymity. Two, there aren't any really good songs, though one or two come close. It might be backhanded praise, but as those sort of records go, this is considerably above the average; the production's very good and full, the singing and harmonies are decent and committed, and The Sundowners play pretty well. Still, they almost sound like different groups from track to track, or at the very least like they're not quite sure whether to be all-out commercial, or try and slip some hipness in on the side. There are some engaging near-Association-strength vocal harmonies and bouncy melodies that put them close to the sunshine pop camp at times, yet at other times they skirt mushy easy listening rock. "Dear Undecided," clearly the best track, is like a fusion of the Hollies and (if this isn't a contradiction in terms) Herman's Hermits at their toughest, and the one you're most likely to have heard before, since they played it onscreen in an episode of the popular late-'60s TV show It Takes a Thief. Other passages indicate they might have been serious Byrds and Who fans -- "Ring Out Wild Bells" has heavy traces of both groups -- yet they don't pursue those inclinations as all-out as they could have, to their detriment. Then there's a mediocre soul-rock instrumental, slightly psychedelic pop/rock (the title cut), and forced blue-eyed soul. It's not that bad on the whole, but certainly not all it could have been.

The Hassles - The Hassles (1967)

On the Hassles' self-titled debut, the band displayed a naive enthusiasm and a slightly better-than-average blue-eyed soul, covering several hits and standards like "A Taste of Honey," "Fever," and "You've Got Me Hummin'," as well as Traffic's "Coloured Rain" in standard Rascals style. Most of the album is nothing spectacular, but a pair of Billy Joel's tracks -- "Every Step I Take (Every Move I Make)" and "I Can Tell" -- show a budding songwriting talent, with the material fitting in quite nicely alongside established songs. [In 1992, the album was reissued on CD as part of EMI's "Legends of Rock & Roll" series with a generous eight bonus tracks recorded around the same time. The disc was pulled off the market shortly after its release at the request of Joel, who still seems embarrassed by his juvenilia despite the charm of the album.]

The Hassles - The Hassles (1967)

This collection has the first album plus bonus tracks.

1. Warming Up (01:38)
2. Just Holding On (02:06)
3. A Taste Of Honey (04:18)
4. Every Step I Take (Every Move I Make) (02:30)
5. Coloured Rain (03:23)
6. I Hear Voices (02:54)
7. I Can Tell (02:57)
8. Giving Up (Version #2) (04:17)
9. Fever (03:18)
10. You've Got Me Hummin' (02:29)
11. I'm Thinkin' (02:05)
12. I'll Be Around (02:02)
13. When I Get Home (04:23)
14. It's Not Enough (02:46)
15. Love Luck (03:21)
16. Look And You Will Find (02:59)
17. Blow My Mind (02:14)
18. Giving Up (Version #1) (04:07)

The Standells - In Person At P.J.s (1964)

A year or two before they really hit upon the garage rock style for which they're most known, the Standells were a popular club band in Los Angeles, grinding out covers of recent hits. In Person at PJ's is a document of their live set at the time, the ten tracks devoted mostly to well-worn R&B/rock tunes like "Money," "Louie Louie," "Bony Maronie," "Linda Lu," "So Fine," and "I'll Go Crazy," with a nod to the British Invasion in the Beatles' "You Can't Do That." If this is a disappointment, it's only in relation to the far more original work the Standells would do only shortly thereafter. If judged as a frat rock album (disregarding its having been recorded in a prominent urban club rather than a frat), it's actually considerably above the average; the group plays well and with verve. But the lack of original material and particularly distinctive approaches to the songs means it's not nearly as interesting as what they'd record later, and the sound quality is actually a bit subpar, though certainly listenable. You can hear a hint of what was to come in Dick Dodd's lead vocal on one of the less famous songs, Jimmy Reed's "Help Yourself," but largely this bears little relation to the Standells' best records.

The Kinks - You Really Got Me

The Kinks' debut album found them under the spell of the same bluesy American rock & roll that fueled both the Merseybeat bands as well as their grittier counterparts (most notably the Rolling Stones). Even with the pair of tried and true Chuck Berry numbers, Ray Davies' title song and a handful of other notables announced the emergence of a confident and original voice. His "Stop Your Sobbing" is a true gem. "Just Can't Go To Sleep," "I Took My Baby Home," and "You Do Something To Me"  find Davies crafting top flight Beatle-pop. The band itself is a tough little rhythm machine, with guitarist Dave Davies' fist-sized chords churning away in tandem with the drums and bass. Though Ray Davies went on to find a broader base as a songwriter, the Kinks' first several albums are still as startling and convincing as they were decades ago.

The Kinks - You Really Got Me [Reprise Stereo Vinyl] 
Label: Reprise Records – RS-6143
Format: Vinyl, LP, Stereo, Album 
Country: US

A1 Beautiful Delilah
A2 So Mystifying
A3 Just Can't Go To Sleep
A4 Long Tall Shorty
A5 You Really Got Me

B1 Cadillac
B2 Bald Headed Woman (Traditional)
B3 To Much Monkey Business
B4 I've Been Driving On Bald Mountain (Traditional)
B5 Stop Your Sobbing
B6 Got Love If You Want It

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Mystic Astrological Crystal Band - Flowers Never Cry

CD reissue of two albums' worth of material that the group cut for the GNP label in the late '60s. Stressing the lighter, sunnier side of the L.A. psychedelic sound (with occasional Seedsish bits), it's well-produced, and full of the requisite bright harmonies and occasional spacy effects. But there's so little that grabs your attention that it sometimes sounds like one of those anonymous bands that recorded soundtrack material for late-'60s hippie exploitation films.

Group Therapy - 2 in 1 (1968,1969)

This New York-based quintet featured Ray Kennedy (vocals), Art Del Gudico (guitar), Jerry Guida (organ), Tommy Burns (drums) and Michael Lamont (drums). The band’s debut album largely comprised of contemporary hits, notably ‘Hey Joe’, ‘Morning Dew’ and ‘Come See About Me’. An unknown quantity when they supported Moby Grape on a brief UK tour in 1968, Group Therapy impressed audiences with their exciting, soul-based stage act. The album, retitled You’re In Need Of...Group Therapy was belatedly issued in the wake of this interest, but although their version of ‘River Deep - Mountain High’ garnered interest when issued as a single, the set failed to emulate its corresponding in-concert intensity. The band split up without achieving their potential, although Kennedy later secured success as a singer and songwriter.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Mystery Meat - Profiles (1968)


-Dick Leighninger (vocals)
-Ron O'Dell (guitar)
-Bob Rentz (keyboards)
-Wayne Joplin (bass guitar)
-Gary Walden (drums)

The Mystery Meat record was privately pressed by five Illinois college students in 1968. Only around 25 copies, each now fetching upwards of $6K, were made. The extreme rarity, combined with the provocative cover art and the visceral sounds underneath it all have made Profiles a garage LP of legends.

Legendary lost albums are not loved for their rarity alone. The Mystery Meat has a primitive sound as any dirty garage recording and then some, but the quality of the songs shine through as early as your first listen and maintain Profiles’ unique longevity.  Soft spoken, innocent vocals and sensitive lyrics contrast frightening drums recorded, it would seem, under a blanket. The muffled rhythm section is really distinct, recorded in the cavernous basement of a school building at Blackburn College, rounded on the high end with fierce Farfisa organ and trebly electric rhythm guitar.

It’s not all about loud scary beat rock, but good, strong songwriting, courtesy of Wayne Joplin, and a tender angle. “Both Have To Pay” and “You Won’t Believe It” stick out for their melancholy sound; the melodies alone seem to convey a love lost. Lead singer Dick Leighninger clearly knew how to put emotion into his vocal, and I can just picture the girl in his mind during these makeshift sessions.  ”Don’t Take Me” is an exceptionally bizarre ode to death, “Sunshine Makes It” a swirling and slightly experimental piece. The rest make up an album of tunes so great any listener should be surprised. All originals.

The Mystic Astrological Crystal Band - Clip Out, Put-On Book! (1968)

A third-tier late-'60s L.A. psychedelic outfit, the Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band were not as weird as their name indicated. They were, more to the point, as trendy as their name led one to believe, recording common-denominator psychedelic pop for the GNP label that emulated much of the form, but delivered little in the way of lasting content. Steve Hoffman wrote all of the group's material, which largely consisted of passable emulations of the Association, the Seeds, and much of the L.A. psychedelic pop that fell between these extremes. Their sound is so anonymous, in fact, that one suspects they were only playing psychedelic music because it was fashionable -- if it were 12 years later, they may have opted to wear skinny ties and sound like the Knack instead. Perhaps that's too harsh an assessment, but there's not much to put your back against on their albums, despite their status as collector's items.

Bob Phillips , John Leighton, John Moreland , Ron Roman, Steve Hoffman 

1. M.A.C.B. Theme
2. Sunbeams and Rainbows
3. I Think I'll Just Lie Here and Die
4. Gaberdene Square
5. Ah Ha Ha Ha
6. Krystalyze
7. Today
8. Yellow Room
9. Authors
10. It's Strange
11. Only Time
12. Oatmeal Quicksand

The Mystic Tide - Solid Sound Solid Ground ( 1965-67)

JOE DOCKO gtr, ld vcls 
PAUL PICELL bs, vcls 
JIM THOMAS gtr, vcls 

One of the truly great 1960s garage classics, this leaps out of the speakers and grabs you from the word go, then proceeds to turn the heat up yet several more notches with a supercharged guitar break that was unbelievably unhinged and over-the-top by 1966 standards.

Out of the Woodbury suburb of New York City, this band made some outstanding recordings. They started life combining their own compositions with Them, Searchers and Zombies originals. 
They went very much against the tide of most Long Island bands, who were heavily into soul. By early 1966 they were becoming more adventurous. 
For their second 45, they covered a Them song, Mystic Eyes. 
Indeed, this slow punk ballad was party responsible for their name, as their leader Joe Docko liked it so much. 
Their third 45 was their magnum opus. 
Frustration was a haze of dementia with superb guitar leads from Docko. 
They played 10 minute versions of it live and each was different. 
The flip, Psychedelic Journey Pt 1 was a stunning psychedelic instrumental which once again contained some superb guitar playing from Docko. The song continued on the flip to their fourth 45, which featured fine discordant clashing guitars and a striking ending. After this Jim Thomas left and they continued as a trio for one final effort:- Mystery Ship, another punk ballad - a tale of death and the futility of life, backed by the more optimistic, You Won't Look Back. This lacked the 'fullness' of sound of their previous two, now they were only a trio. 

The Mystic Tide released a total of five singles between the years 1965-1967 and they are all nearly impossible to find now. 
The recent Distortions retrospectives include all their 45s plus an early effort, I Wouldn't Care, a gentle Merseybeat-influenced song. The later CD release includes seven extra tracks.
They are now considered to be one of the best garage/psychedelic groups to come out of Long Island. 

1 Stay Away/Why (Esquire 4677) 1965 
2 Mystic Eyes/I Search For A New Love (Esquire 719/720) 1966 
3 Frustration/Psychedelic Journey Pt 1 (Solid Sound 156/7) 1966 
4 Running Through The Night/Psychedelic Journey Pt 2 (Solid Sound 158/9) 1967 
5 Mystery Ship/You Won't Look Back (Solid Sound 321/2) 1967 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Blue Things - Let the Blue Things Blow Your Mind

Along with the Remains, the Blue Things are serious contenders for the title of the Great Lost Mid-'60s American Band. The Kansas group was extremely popular in the Midwest and Texas, but remained unknown on a national level, despite a deal with RCA. Piloted by the songwriting of singer and guitarist Val Stecklein, the group often sounded like a cross between the Byrds and the Beau Brummels with their melodic, energetic, guitar-oriented folk-rock and haunting harmonies. The group's sole album (Listen & See, 1966) and several singles chart a rapid growth from British Invasion-like material with a heavy Searchers and Buddy Holly influence to full-blown psychedelic efforts with careening guitars, organ, and backward effects. Quite innovative for the time, these 1966 psychedelic singles met with no more than regional success. The group's impetus was derailed by the departure of Stecklein at the end of 1966, although they struggled on for a bit. Stecklein went to California and recorded a disappointing MOR folk album for Dot in the late '60s that reprised some of his Blue Things songs.

Hailing from Lawrence, Kansas, The Blue Things were to the mid-west what The Beatles were to England. Starting out in 1964, as The Blue Boys, they played a British Invasion type sound. Over their short lived career, they were to release a plethora of singles, that have become legendary for their innovation and originality. In 1966 The Blue Things changed their style to psychedelic and their sound was similar to The Beatles' sound on Revolver. This two cd set contains a career spanning 65 tracks with many previously unreleased recordings and stunning sound!

A 24 page booklet, details the complete career of the band and is rich in photos and recollections.

Let the Blue Things Blow Your Mind is easily the biggest single-release Blue Things collection ever (or likely to be) compiled. The two-disc set contains no less than 65 tracks spread across two-and-a-half hours, including 16 unreleased cuts and three radio ads (for the Blue Things, not by the Blue Things). Since this does have everything from their sole album and all of their non-LP A-sides and B-sides, one hesitates to point out some relatively minor problems, especially since the LP and 45s comprise some of the finest obscure mid-'60s American folk-rock and early psychedelia. Still, those flaws are the kind of things completists might want to know about. First, the unreleased versions of the outtakes "Desert Wind" and "Waiting for Changes" are distinctly inferior to the previously issued versions of these songs (which are not included on this anthology), missing some backup vocals in each case. While it's good for collectors to have the 45 version of "I Must Be Doing Something Wrong," with an oboe (missing from the LP version) that's alternately effective and irritating, ultimately it's not as good as the oboe-less one. The mix of "Now's the Time," a jangly folk-rock highlight of the group's LP, sounds oddly flat and unbalanced. And while all the previously unreleased material is a boon for Blue Things fans, much of it's devoted to relatively slightly different versions of songs that have already seen the light of day elsewhere, either on official mid-'60s Blue Things releases or reissues that dug up some unissued stuff. The previously unheard tracks do include a good straight-out rock & roll number from a 1964 session ("Punkin' Doodle") and a nice version of "I Can't Have Yesterday" with a significantly different folk-rock arrangement than the official LP rendition, but the hit covers from a December 1966 session are fairly uninteresting. And finally, though the 24-page booklet offers lengthy liner notes and lots of photos, it somehow fails to include songwriting credits anywhere. Do all these picky complaints mean you should avoid this release? Of course not; there's lots of fine music here that will appeal to both the general folk-rock/psychedelic/garage fan and the Blue Things devotee. Val Stecklein shines as one of the era's finest overlooked singers and songwriters throughout most of the program, and many listeners looking for something that crosses the Byrds, Beau Brummels, and early Beatles will be pleased and excited if they haven't yet come across the group. Still, the general fan's better off trying to find the 2001 CD reissue of their sole LP (on Rewind, with non-LP bonus tracks from mid-'60s singles). Additionally, the completist should also know for all this two-CD set's generous length, it doesn't quite have everything, a few outtakes remaining available only on some earlier Blue Things LP and CD collections on the Cicadelic label.

CD 1
The Blueboys, Damon Studios, Kansas City: September 1964 (1-2, 5), July 7 1964 (3-4, 6-7)
The Bluethings, First Single: Dec.1964 (8-9), Second Single, May 1965 (9-10)
Sullivan Studios - Oklahoma City: May 1965 (12-17), September 1965 (30), November 1965 (18-21,33)
Studio B - Nashville: August 1965 (23-29)
The Hi-Plains Singers (with Val Stecklein) Audio House, Lawrence, Kansas: 1963 (31-32).

CD 2
The Bluethings- Studio B: November 1965 (1-2, 4-7, 28), February 1966 (3, 8-9), September 1966 (15-17), March 1967 (18-20, 25-27)
Audio House: January 6, 1966 (29), December 1966 (21-24)
Val Stecklein  Audio House: April 3 1966 (10-13) August 1966 (14)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bizony - Gwiazdy Polskiego Big Beatu (Poland)

 Zespół wokalno-instrumentalny Bizony założyli w 1968 r. insrumentaliści Tajfunów - Zbigniew Bizoń i Bohdan Kendelewicz. Skład zespołu uzupełniali: Krzysztof Bańkowski - gitara basowa; Jerzy Tumidajski - perkusja; Andrzej Dorawa - puzon; Wiesław Eyssymont - trąbka i Stan Borys (wł. Stanisław Guzek) - śpiew. Grupa zadebiutowała 12 marca 1968 r. Podczas Telewizyjnej Giełdy Piosenki wykonała utwór "Lepiej późno niż wcale", zdobywając w konkursie 1 miejsce. Potem Bizony wystąpiły w telewizyjnym programie "Tele Variete". 24 maja 1968 r. Stan Borys i Bizony wzięli udział w V Ogólnopolskim Festiwalu Zespołów Estradowych w Olsztynie, zdobywając tam trzy nagrody. S. Borysa wyrózniona za interpretację, Z. Bizonia za opracowanie muzyczne, zaś całej grupie przyznano "Srebrnego Kormorana" za program "Intermusica Show".
  W lipcu zespół uczestniczył w programie telewizyjnym poświęconym laureatom festiwalu olsztyńskiego. W sierpniu, towarzysząc Marcie Martelińskiej, grupa  wzięła udział w I Festiwalu Zespołów Młodzieżowych o Złotą Kotwicę Sopockiego Lata 1968 oraz w VIII MFP w Sopocie. Miesiąc później A. Dorawę zmienił Janusz Mieszek.
  Na początku 1969 r. po występach w Warszawie i Gdańsku, Bizony przystąpiły do nagrywania albumu "To ziemia". Na płycie znalazły sie wszystkie ówczene przeboje grupy, z Radiowymi Piosenkami Czerwca i Września ("Spacer dziką plażą", "Na wierchach wieje wiatr"), których kompozytormi byli Z. Kendelewicz i Z. Bizoń. Potem zespół wyjechał na 8-tygodniowe tournee po ZSRR.
 Latem w Bizonach zaszły zmiany personalne. J. Tumidajskiego zastąpił Ryszard Gromek, zaś W. Eyssymonta - trębacz Paweł Manfred Niezgoda. Grupa z powodzeniem wystąpiła z z wokalistką Marianną Wróblewską na VII KFPP w Opolu i XII Festiwalu "Jazz Jamboree". Niestety zespołowi nie udało się wylansować kolejnych przebojów na miarę tych sprzed paru miesięcy. Na II Festiwalu Zespołów Młodzieżowych o Złotą Kotwicę Sopockiego lata 1969 grupa zajęła 7 miejsce. "Bezmiar wód", "Jesteś w moim słońcu", "Nie spada z nieba los" nie cieszyły sie popularnością.
  Zapowiedzią końca grupy stało się odejście Stana Borysa, który z początkiem 1970 r. podjął decyzję o rozpoczęciu kariery solowej. Funkcję wokalistów zespołu, bez większego powodzenia, przejmowali Z. Kendelewicz i Z. Bizoń. W marcu 1970 r. Bizony wzięły udział w "Poznańskich Muzykaliach" obok Maryli 
Rodowicz, Marka Grechuty, zespołu Tropicale Thaiti Granda Banda. Później formacja po raz drugi wyjechała do ZSRR. Grupę tworzyli wtedy: Z. Bizoń - saksofon, organy, śpiew; Mirosław Męczyński - gitara, śpiew; B. Kendelewicz - gitara basowa; J. Mieszek - puzon; P. M. Niezgoda - trąbka i Krzysztof Lipczyński - perkusja.
  W ostatnim okresie działalnosci perkusistami Bizonów byli Sergiusz Perkowski i Jerzy Cybula. Na VIII KFPP w Opolu (1970), gdzie grupa akompaniowała Zdzisławie Sośnickiej, wystąpili z Januszem Stefańskim - perkusja. Bizony zakończyły działalność latem 1970 r. W listopadzie nowy, studyjny zespół 
instrumentalny Z. Bizonia dokonał nagrań radiowych (Czarna woda; Biały wiatr; Czy twoja). Obu gitarzystów wkrótce można było zobaczyć w grupach Wiatraki i ABC, zaś samego lidera dopiero w lipcu 1986 r. podczas "Old Rock Meeting" w Sopocie, dokąd przybył ze Szwecji.


LP XL 0529 Pronit (01.1969)
To ziemia
To ziemia / Wiatr od Klimczoka / Zostań tam, gdzie ja / Na wierchach wieje wiatr / Nie wiem czy to deszcz czy to płacz / Spacer dziką plażą / Siła kwiatów / 
Nie pójdę za tobą / Nasze wędrowanie / Żeby uciec trzeba mgły / Kto odpowie mi
Skład: S. Borys - śpiew; B. Kendelewicz - gitara; K. Bańkowski - gitara basowa; Z. Bizoń - saksofon; W. Eyssymont - trąbka; J. Mieszek - puzon; J. Tumidajski - perkusjai Alibabki - śpiew (chór)

EP N-0599 Muza (05.1970)
Telewizyjna Giełda Piosenki (9)
Patrzą na mnie twoje oczy
Skład: Zdzisława Sośnicka i Bizony

SP SP-290 Muza (09.1969)
Annabella / I Don't Care Who Knows
Skład: B. Kendelewicz - gitara; K. Bańkowski - gitara basowa; R. Gromek - perkusja oraz D. Knight - gitara, śpiew i Henryk Kowalski - skrzypce

PD R-0161 Ruch (1969)
Nie spada z nieba los

LP XL 0624 Muza (1969)
Przeboje Non Stop
Nie spada z nieba los

LP XL 0633 Muza (06.1970)
Premiery Opole 1970
Czarna woda, biały wiatr

CD ALCD 005 Alcom (1991)
Bizony, Tajfuny, Dżamble, Nurt
Spacer dziką plażą / Na wierchach wieje wiatr / Żeby uciec trzeba mgły / Lepiej późno niż wcale


Lepiej późno niż wcale (voc. S. Borys); Żeby uciec trzeba mgły (voc. S. Borys); Spacer dziką plażą (voc. S. Borys); Na wierchach wieje wiatr (voc. S. Borys); Siła kwiatów (voc. S. Borys); Zostań tam, gdzie ja (voc. S. Borys)

Bezmiar wód (voc. S. Borys); Jesteś w moim słońcu (voc. S. Borys); W pejzażu naszej jesieni (voc. S. Borys); Bądź mi (voc. S. Borys); Powiedz mi, czy jesteś (voc. S. Borys); Nie spada z nieba los (voc. S. Borys)

Pójdziemy tam, gdzie prawdy ślad (voc. Z. Bizoń); Aquarius; Let The Sunshine In (voc. Z. Sośnicka); Czarna woda, biały wiatr (voc. Z. Sośnicka); Czarownica (instr.); Patrzą na mnie twoje oczy (voc. Z. Sośnicka)

Źródło: "Encyklopedia Polskiej Muzyki Rockowej - 
ROCN 'N' ROLL 1959-1973" - autorzy: Jan Kawecki, Janusz Sadłowski, Marek Ćwikła, Wojciech Zając

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Friar Tuck and his Psychedelic Guitar (1967)

It would be all too easy to simply write this off as a mere exploitation knock-off designed to catch naive hippies. It certainly is that, but it also has the hand (and voice) of Curt Boettcher all over it, and it features Mike Deasy, heavy L.A. session cat and sometime-member of Phil Spector's Wrecking Crew on guitar, musical arrangements and producing. Consisting of about half covers and half originals, the album could hardly be considered truly psychedelic (mostly thanks to the Boettcher vocals) but it is quite interesting in its own way. Deasy's arrangements are strange and wonderful with some hot guitar playing and liberal use of the echoplex. He gives "Louie Louie," the quintessential simple rock & roll tune, a wildly elaborate arrangement, virtually re-creating the tune entirely. He gives Nat Adderly and Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "Work Song" an echoplex and guitar intro, inserts a bit of twang then goes into a classical sounding passage and back. Oddly enough, it also sounds reminiscent of the Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction"! Deasy's ultra-stoned sounding vocals on "Alley Oop" are hilarious. The originals can't be called instrumentals due to Boettcher and company's ever present wordless vocals, which get really bizarre on "Fendabenda Ha Ha Ha" and "Where Did Your Mind Go?." [These tracks are a really odd combination of gonzo guitar soloing and the Living Voices on acid. The bonus tracks by the Flower Pot have actual lyrics and are less elaborately arranged than the Friar Tuck album, and have quite a different feel to them. "Black Moto" and "Wantin' Ain't Gettin" even have some sitar. Originally issued as 45 rpms, they're a nice addition and it makes sense to gather Deasy's originals all in one place. All in all, Friar Tuck & His Psychedelic Guitar is a thoroughly entertaining curiosity. [This album was reissued in 2007 with four bonus tracks from the Flower Pot.]

Ohio Express - Chewy Chewy & Mercy

Ohio Express - Chewy Chewy & Mercy 1969

Ohio Express - Beg, Borrow And Steal

Forming from the ashes of Rare Breed, Mansfield Ohio's The Ohio Express came together in 1967 and enjoyed some of the largest successes of the bubblegum rock craze of the late 60's. The initial line-up included Joey Levine on vocals, Dale Powers on guitar, Doug Grassel on second guitar, Jim Pflayer on keyboards, Dean Krastan on bass and Tim Corwin on drums. Under the aegis of producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, Ohio Express surfaced repeatedly on the late-'60s pop charts. Their first single, a reworked Rare Breed tune called "Beg, Borrow And Steal" cracked the charts, but it was with the sugary-sweet one-two punch of "Yummy Yummy Yummy" and "Chewy Chewy," that the group found their biggest hits. These tunes were pair of million-sellers for the band and their label, bubblegum powerhouse Buddah Records. Future 10CC leader Graham Gouldman sang lead on their final chart bow in 1969, "Sausalito (Is the Place to Go)." The band had a somewhat nebulous existence for the next two decades. For a brief time in the mid-70's Kasenetz and Katz assembled a version of Ohio Express made up of completely new musicians to play the band's hits in Long Island clubs and dive bars. This in-name-only version of the band was short-lived. In the 1980's original drummer Tim Corwin assembled a new line up of the group and they began touring the oldies circuit playing the band's late 60's bubblegum hits. In 2012 this version of the band offered up Bubblegum Days, an album of newly recorded versions of both their most famous hits as well as other covers from the bubblegum era.

 Ohio Express - Beg, Borrow And Steal 1968

Friday, March 1, 2013

The 5th Estate -Ding Dong! The Witch Is Back!: The Fifth Estate, 1964-1969

Rick Engler - guitar, fuzz bass, lead vocals, harmonica
Ken 'Furvus' Evans - drums, vocals
Doug 'Duke' Ferrara - bass, lead harmony vocals
Wayne 'Wads' Wadhams (d. 19 August 2008) - harpsichord, piano, organ, lead vocals
Bill Shute - guitar, shugro 8, vocals
Chuck LeGros - vocals, harmonica (1966)
Bob 'Bobby Lee' Klein - lead vocals, keyboards, guitar (1969 + 2006>)

Best remembered for their 1967 novelty smash "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead," pop combo the Fifth Estate began their career in Stamford, CT, in 1964 as the Demen. Originally comprised of singer Don Askew, guitarists Rick Engler and Ken Evans, bassist Doug Ferrara, keyboardist Wayne Wadhams, and drummer Bill Shute, the group soon changed its name to the D-Men, honing a British Invasion-influenced garage approach that resulted in a contract with the tiny Veep label. Their debut single, "Don't You Know," appeared in the fall of 1964, soon followed by "I Just Don't Care"; neither single earned notice outside of the Stamford area, and the D-Men adopted a folk-rock sound for 1965's "So Little Time," their lone effort for the Kapp label. Following the addition of lead vocalist Chuck LeGros, the band adopted the name the Fifth Estate, relocated to New York City, and in May 1966 returned with "Love Is a Game," one of the last-ever singles on the venerable Red Bird label, which closed its doors soon after the single's release. Although Askew and Wadhams were enjoying some success as songwriters, placing material with the Brothers Four and Reparata & the Delrons, the rest of the Fifth Estate were growing increasingly disenchanted with the music business -- frustrations reached their peak in late 1966, when LeGros stomped off-stage during the middle of a set and never returned.

While performing at a Christmas party not long after, Askew reportedly cracked that given the proper production and promotion, any song could become a hit; his bandmates took the bait, and Askew and Wadhams set to work on adapting the Wizard of Oz chestnut "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead," basing their arrangement in part on Michael Praetorius' dance suite "Terpsichore." Jubilee Records heard the demo and quickly signed the group, with "Ding Dong!" falling just shy of the Billboard Top Ten in mid-June 1967; the Fifth Estate spent the summer touring as part of a package headlined by Gene Pitney and the Happenings, and in August released the follow-up, the Lovin' Spoonful sound-alike "The Goofin' Song." The record went nowhere, as did the subsequent "Heigh Ho!" As some of the lineup returned to college, the Fifth Estate recorded and performed sporadically -- later Jubilee singles including "Do Drop Inn" and "Coney Island Sally" substituted session musicians for members who were MIA, and 1969's "The Mickey Mouse Club March" featured none of the official members at all. When Jubilee called it quits later that year, the Fifth Estate followed suit; Wadhams later enjoyed a career as a producer and arranger of some note, also teaching at the Berklee School of Music; in 1995, his Boston Skyline label issued the 27-track D-Men/Fifth Estate compilation Ding Dong! The Witch Is Back.

In the mid-'60s, Wayne Wadhams performed in a band called the D-Men that evolved into the Fifth Estate. They went Top 15 in 1967 with a novelty remake of the Wizard of Oz tune "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead!." Their only hit on Jubilee Records is very misleading. This group should be as sought after as Moulty & the Barbarians. This is a very generous collection of demos: songs they wrote for the Righteous Brothers and Cilla Black, and covers of Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy"" and John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom." This album really goes across the '60s spectrum, which makes it so fun and so unique. The rhythm tracks to "I Wanna Shout/Tomorrow Is My Turn" sound like the Ventures performing in your living room; the second portion of the song descends into a dirty "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"-type riff. With all the cult fascination for Roky Erickson and the Chocolate Watchband, it is amazing what the 64-plus minutes on this disc reveal, and even more amazing that this music isn't as sought after as so many other bands from that era. A novelty hit, after all, hardly has the lustre of a Standells riff or ? & the Mysterians' organ passages. The unreleased 1966 single "How Can I Find the Way" sounds like Barbara Harris of the Toys. The liner notes on the back of the CD call this "A real first: the complete recorded output and memoirs of a group who recorded for four labels between 1964 and 1967." The demo for their breakthrough hit, the cover from The Wizard of Oz (as well as the hit version) is here, and when you play that next to "Love Isn't Tears Only," their demo for the Righteous Brothers, the abilities of these New Englanders comes totally into focus. It would've been perfect for the Walker Brothers or Tom Jones. The McGregor Clothes jingle is lifted carefully from Chad & Jeremy's 1964 hit "Yesterday's Gone." Murray the K even makes an appearance -- a tape from his WINS-AM show recorded in 1964 appears in between songs four and six. Early work by future producers Bill Szymczyk and Phil Ramone are also included; the liner notes by Joe Tortelli are as thorough as his lengthy essay in the Delaney & Bonnie package for Rhino. The 28 tracks, featuring 26 songs, the Murray the K bit, and the clothing jingle would be a good study course in the life of a rock band who hit it big, and all their work that went in between. Wayne Wadhams is a major producer who has worked with jazz act Full Circle on Columbia, among many others. As producer David Foster emerged from the Canadian band Skylark, the history of producer Wadhams compiled here with his Fifth Estate is more than just a good study. As stated, this is a real period piece for collectors of vintage '60s music. ~ Joe Viglione Includes liner notes by Joe Tortelli. Producers: Kevin Gavin, Steve Jerome, The Fifth Estate. Engineers include: Bill Szymczyk, Phil Ramone, Eddie Youngblood. The Fifth Estate: Chuck Legros, (vocals, tambourine); Bill Shute (acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin); Rick Engler (guitar, background vocals); Wayne Wadhams (vocals, piano, harpsichord, organ); Doug Ferrara (bass, percussion, background vocals); Ken Evans (drums, percussion). Additional personnel: Dick Charles, Kevin Gavin, Robin Moiser, Kenny Karen (vocals); Steve Jerome (jews harp); Robert Klein (drums).

Indfødte lyde / Native Sounds - Denmark Record Labels Vol.14

Indfødte lyde / Native Sounds - Denmark Record Labels Vol.14

Wiking Strings

01 - One Has My Name
02 - You Can Go To Him
03 - You Can Go To Him (version)
04 - My Blue Heaven
05 - Ol' Man Mose
06 - Your Cheatin' Heart
07 - Ginny Come Lately
08 - Deep In The Heart Of Texas
09 - Kansas City
10 - Blue Blue Day
11 - Hey Good Looking
12 - Roadrunner
13 - The Midnight Special
14 - Doin' The Best I Can
15 - Jambalaya
16 - Walk Right In
17 - I Understand


Mars Bonfire - Faster Than The Speed Of Life (1968)

Dion - Born To Be With You (1975)

The Blue Things - The Bluethings Story Vol.1-2

Les Miserables - L'Integrale (1964-1968)

Mike Sheridan & Nightriders - The Birmingham Beat

Dion - Born To Be With You (1975)

Dion had gone four years without a hit when he was paired with producer Phil Spector in 1974, for an album that all concerned were convinced would relaunch both men's careers. Spector himself was especially bullish about the project, returning to his old stomping grounds at Gold Star Studios and recalling engineer Stan Ross to the mixing desk for the first time since they recorded the Paris Sisters together in 1962. He then assembled an enormous band of backing musicians -- no fewer than 40 players lined up to accompany Dion, including a dozen guitarists, seven percussionists, and five pianists. The result was not, however, the sonic extravaganza that most people were expecting. Rather, where the Wall of Sound had exploded with joy, Born to Be With You seemed almost to close in on itself, a darkly introspective album that took its lead, in many ways, from the 1970 Dion hit single that was dropped in among the Spector productions, "Your Own Backyard." Lit throughout by the reflections of a middle-aged man acknowledging his prime was behind him, Born to Be With You comprised six new recordings, including a positively funereal rendering of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," a dramatic retread of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's "Make the Woman Love Me," and a dour Spector/Dion collaboration, "Good Lovin' Man." And the darkness didn't lift once. Dion's management was horrified, and tried hard to have the album revamped. Spector, however, maintained total control over the proceedings and, tired of the sniping, canceled plans for an American release -- Born to Be With You would ultimately appear in the U.K. only, in 1975. Dion, too, was unhappy -- "I don't think we ever really finished that," he complained in 2003. It shocked him mightily, then, to discover that names as far apart as Andrew Loog Oldham, Bobby Gillespie, Jason Pierce, and Pete Townshend have pronounced Born to Be With You one of the finest albums ever made. And they were correct.

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