Friday, October 31, 2008

The Soup Greens - That's Too Bad (1965)

Βρέθηκαν τα «άπαντα» των Soup Greens σε ένα cd και σώθηκαν. Παραθέτω όμως αυτά που γράφει στο βιβλίο Fuzz, Acid & Flowers και σαλτάρω ελαφρώς. Αυτός που υποτίθεται βρήκε τις ελάχιστες πληροφορίες για το γκρουπ και έκανε την κριτική θεωρεί τη ΚΟΜΜΑΤΑΡΑ That's Too Bad ως nothing special. Εντάξει τα γούστα του καθενός είναι υποκειμενικά. Δεν ξέρω αν έμειναν στην μουσική ιστορία οι Soup Greens για την προσφορά τους στον πολιτισμό. Θεωρώ όμως ότι δεν θα πρέπει να μείνουν για την διασκευή του Dylan αλλά για το δικό τους μουσικό διαμάντι. Όσοι φίλοι δεν το έχουν ακούσει ας κάνουν τον κόπο. Εξάλλου και τα υπόλοιπα τραγούδια τους είναι αξιόλογα.
Όπως λέει το κείμενο που πήρα από τον εξαίρετο Ολλανδό του beyond the beat generation, δυστυχώς η μόνη γνωστή φωτογραφία που υπάρχει από το γκρουπ είναι αυτή στο cd. Βρήκα και ανέβασα επίσης φωτό από το σιγκλάκι τους.

1 Like A Rolling Stone/That's Too Bad (Golden Rule 5000) 1965

An obscure sixties punk band from Rochester, New York. Their cover of Dylan's classic number Like A Rolling Stone attracted some attention when it was included on Pebbles, Vol. 1 (LP) and it resurfaced again later on the Pebbles Vol. 1 (CD), Pebbles Box (5-LP), Pebbles, Vol. 4 (ESD) (CD) and Trash Box (5-CD). The flip is also on Psychotic Reactions (LP), but is nothing special.

The Soup Greens By David Eagle

I was always exposed to music. My parents joined a record club for me when I was an infant. I first became interested in the guitar when I started watching cowboy TV shows like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. My mother took me for lessons and bought me a Harmony F-Hole guitar with unbelievably high action. It hurt, but it helped develop calluses and strength. I was eight years old. If I did well I got a Vanilla malted after the lesson. We walked to the lessons. It was pretty far. This was on Staten Island.

I got the rock and roll bug in the late '50s, and it just grew and grew. My friend and I used to pretend that we were deejays and had our own accapella radio show - the Dirty Jock Show. I had just gotten one of those new transister radios - a grey GE - and it never left my ear until my cousin Debbie (Pebbles) lost it on a Circle Line Cruise around Manhatten.

In 1960, with my own money, I went to Manny's in New York City and bought my first electric guitar, a beautiful Gretsch Jet Firebird and a Gretsch amp. It turns out that the guy who helped me pick it out was Duane Eddy!

Shortly after that, I formed my first band with my friends Eddie Wetschler on piano (and then a toy organ) and Jay Steinberg on drums. We fooled around for a while, not really knowing how to do anything, but then we started putting a few things together, learning how to be a band: steady beat, being in tune, following a leader, etc. Eddie was a prodigy who knew theory, read music, and could shout out when to change chords, etc. He could transpose and do other thing we had no clue about. Jay was good, too; and I had a good ear, and could improvise. We started playing at parties, local dances, and school events.

We later added Al Ferrante, a great bass player from our high school (Curtis High School). Al never had a lesson, was a natural, and was a football player and the best looking kid in school - so we got some groupies. The band was The Islanders, and for a while it was all instrumental, as were all bands at the time. Later we added a sax player, Simion Saturn, from New York City. He had lots of contacts, and one night he brought along Elliot Randall (Randall's Island) who was already great, and went on to be well known in the recording business. We sang stuff like Shout. We stayed together throughout high school and ventured as far as Brooklyn to be a backup band at The Allen Fredericks Show at one of the Brooklyn Theatres. We backed up Jay & The Americans (I'm pretty sure) and Little Joey and The Flips. In one form or another we played for the summer at Catskill Hotels: Homowack Lodge and the Raliegh. We picked up other people, too - Billy Helkin, a genious 16-year old sax player, and Jay Rubin, trumpet. We also played at Rocking Horse Dude Ranch for a summer. There is an existing acetate/cassette of one of these groups playing a variety of types of music that we played for potential gigs. The groups were called The Emanons, or The Caravans.

The link here is Jay Rubin. After high school he called me to invite me to play with a few of his friends from Brooklyn. I went, and I liked the guys, and they were really good. The organ player was Lenny Matlin. He had a Farfisa Combo Compact. Steve Tennenbaum was the drummer - he played Gretsch or Ludwig - and was great. Lenny played through an Ampeg bass amp. I still had my Gretsch, but it was too weak for the stuff we were doing, so I went to Silver & Horland and bought an Ampeg Gemini 2, which turned out also not powerful or raw enough, so I brought it back for a Fender non-CBS Super Reverb. I still use it today, as well as the Gretsch Firebird on occasion. The Gretsch had such a good hard shell case that it survived being run over by a '57 Chrysler Imperial!

Lenny wrote lots of songs, and was the most British and hallucinogenic of all of us. Steve couldn't really sing, but somehow he sounded great, and I wrote and sang leads (as did Lenny). We soon realized that trumpet did not fit in with our developing style and identity - that of Brooklyn rock - and we parted ways. We practiced all the time while going to college, played at frat parties, local clubs like the Madd Hatter in Coney Island, Trude Heller's and Cafe Wha? in the Village, the CLAY COLE SHOW on TV, as well as sleezy bars, and colleges. We played a battle of the bands at Murry the K's World in Long Island. The only other group I remember was The Good Rats. We also played on the same bill with The Blues Magoos in the Village.

I don't think we made it out of the Tri-State area. We were writing our own songs and decided to record a demo. We used Dick Charles Studio at $25.00 an hour - a lot to us. We went twice. The second time a guy a few years older than us (we were 17), Mike Glasser, heard us and wanted to produce us. He loved That's Too Bad. He told us to work on a B-Side. At that time I had a thing about the groups that were recording Bob Dylan's stuff. I hated all the pretty covers, especially what The Byrds did. Dylan did not intend for his stuff to be anesthetized. I said that we could do Like a Rolling Stone (in a style) that would convey the real meaning in our way. We tried it once and that was that. We recorded it at Dick Charles in one take.

Mike thought the sound could be better so we tried Bell Sound - where The Stones recorded - and Gotham, and Capitol, where we literally bumped into Peter Noone running out. It was awsome but, actually, Dick Charles did a better job, so that's where the masters were done. Mike tried to sell the record, and got us an audition for a teen-rock and roll-bikini-spy movie (I don't think it got made). The producer thought it was funny that our name sounded like The Supremes. We said our names were Flo, Diana, and Mary. We didn't get the movie. Gasser put the record out on his own label, Golden Rule. He had a partner named Freeman Harris, who we never met. We got some air play, Jocko from Jocko's Rocket Ship (WLIB) loved it and said on the radio, "Jam, Jelly, and Marmalade...looks like The Soup Greens got it made!" Record World liked it and thought it had good chances. We didn't luck out due to lack of money to promote it, or to offer payola.

We played for a while longer, and then parted ways. Lenny went on to record with Donovan. I don't think Steve had another band. I did some solo demos, and joined a Top 40s band to make some money. It was a good band and I played for two years with them. We were called Ronny and The Runabouts. I also played with other groups when they needed a guitar player. However, no band was more fun and creative than The Soup Greens.

The Soup Greens started in 1965 in Lenny's basement on Neptune Ave. in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The record was released in September, 1965. We were together for over a year. One picture and two business cards exist, and some original 45s. We were very popular locally - in Brookln and Greenwich Village. It was an amazing time in my life and I loved it. We really thought we were going to make it big. The reaction to us was always good. After we broke up, I brought the 45 to a few companies. Decca really liked it and kept it for a few weeks - almost went for it - but decided on another group that I never heard of.
1. That's too bad
2. Like a rolling stone
3. Shed a tea
4. Hard to find
5. Please don't go
6. That's too bad (first version)
7. Satellite
8. You can't have my woman

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ladies W.C. - Ladies W.C. (1969)

Σύμφωνα με όσα λέει το υποτυπώδες ένθετο του cd της Essex (1009 CD) ο χίπης μπασίστας Stephen Scott άρχισε να γυρνάει τις ζούγκλες της Λατινικής Αμερικής σε μία περίοδο που κάποιοι άλλοι γύριζαν τις ζούγκλες του Βιετνάμ. Ως μπασίστας άκουγε Stones, Beatles και Dylan αλλά μάλλον γούσταρε περισσότερο τους Kak, Wizards from Kansas και Fairport Convention. Κάποτε βρήκε την παρέα που ταίριαξαν μουσικά για να βγει αυτό το καθόλα συμπαθέστατο δισκάκι από την μακρινή μας Βενεζουέλα.

Adib Casta: Guitarras, Organo, Efectos especiales y VozStephen Scott: Bajo, Harmonica, organo y VozMario Seijas: Batería y percusiónJaime Seijas: Guitarras, Organo y Voz
con: Hector Fuenmayor: Flauta
Ingenieros de Grabacion: Ricardo Landaeta
Grabado en Estudios Continental, Caracas en 1968

1(A) LADIES W.C. (Souvenir SLP-13-50) 1970 R5
NB: (1) reissued on Essex (1009 CD) 199?

A stunning album and, prior to its reissue, one of the rarest and most sought-after in the World. Original pressings appeared on translucent coloured vinyl. It was made by American Stephen Scott and a group of Venezuelan musicians, whilst hippie musician Scott was on his travels through South America.
The opening cut People, also featured on the Love, Peace And Poetry: Latin American Psychedelic Music compilation, sets the tone for much of what follows with some superb fuzz guitar work, which is also most evident on the other stand out cut And Everywhere I See The Shadow Of That Life. Other highlights include To Walk On Water, a laid back number with some lovely woodwind and, in a similar style, The Time Of Hope Is Gone with its ethereal vocals. Heaven's Coming Up and W.C. Blues are more bluesy. The finale is interesting too, opening with sounds reminiscent of The United States Of America album. The track ends in a sorta freeform mayhem. All lyrics on this album are sung in English. Recommended.

1 People
2 I Can't See Straight
3 To Walk On Water
4 Heaven's Coming Up
5 And Everywhere I See the Shadow of That Life
6 Searching for a Meeting Place
7 Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke It
8 The Time of Hope Is Gone
9 W.C. Blues
10 I'm Gonna Be

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tintern Abbey – "Beeside" , "Vacuum Cleaner" (1967)

Μικρή η πιθανότητα αλλά ίσως έχει ξεφύγει σε κάποιους αυτό το διαμάντι. Δυστυχώς οι Tintern Abbey έβγαλαν μόνο ένα μόνο 45αρι, το οποίο θεωρώ ως ένα από το κορυφαία όλων των εποχών στο Βρετανικό νησί. Στο αρχείο που ανέβασα έβαλα όσες φωτογραφίες βρήκα από το γκρουπ.

In London’s Summer of ’67, “psychedelic” was the word on everyone’s lips, while the Beatles, Hendrix, and Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd were the sounds in everyone’s ears. As a result, lots of middling R&B groups became lots of middling psych groups. Amidst this craze, many new psych outfits managed to churn out an LP and many more managed a single or two. All these groups, virtually without exception, faded into obscurity, to be heard from again only on compilations like the (wonderful) second volume of Nuggets. One of these bands was Tintern Abbey. With a total output of only one single, Tintern Abbey’s odds of being remembered were all but nonexistent. Fortunately, great music has a way of being heard.

While tracks like The Move’s “I Can Hear the Grass Grow,” Kaleidoscope’s “Flight from Ashiya,” or The Syn’s “14 Hour Technicolor Dream” sound like artifacts from a forgotten era, Tintern Abbey’s songs hold up to this day, delivering on a movement largely characterized by wasted potential. Tintern Abbey’s sole a-side, the ironically titled “Beeside“ may never have been a hit, but it stands alone with Tomorrow’s “My White Bicycle” as a perfectly forward-thinking psych pop single from London ‘67. The flip side, “Vacuum Cleaner” (actually the more anthologized song of the two), does not reach the soaring heights of its counterpart, but it’s nothing if not flawless, recalling The Who in many ways.

“Beeside” opens with a beautiful, gentle piano that continues throughout the song, sounding as good as anyone tripping on LSD thought Rick Wright sounded. Then, in a beautiful rush, the rest of the instruments descend into the music, including an uncommonly graceful mellotron. John Dalton’s deliciously psychedelic drumming provides the backbeat for Dan Smith’s understated guitar. Perhaps most impressively, however, front-man Dave MacTavish manages to turn in perfectly elegant lyrics while adhering to the whimsical psych style of the time. Even such giants of the scene as Barrett and Keith West struggled with corniness in similar songs. All in all, “Beeside” is the perfect song to play in your car on a sunny day or in your headphones and get lost in or, best of all, when you can’t think of anything else to listen to.

David MacTavish -- VocalsDon Smith -- GuitarStuart McKay -- BassJohn Dalton -- Drums

Vacuum Cleaner

Electric Prunes - Electric Prunes (I Had Too Much to Dream) 1967

Τι είδους σχόλιο να έχω για αυτό το δίσκο? Απλά θα πω πως είναι μια ΔΙΣΚΑΡΑ με όλη τη σημασία της λέξεως. Δεν πρόκειται για ένα απλά αγαπημένο μου δίσκο, αλλά για ένα πολυαγαπημένο δίσκο. Μιλάμε για ερωτική σχέση. Για ένα πάντως που είμαι σίγουρος είναι ότι ο φίλος stefanos δεν πρόκειται να κατεβάσει τον δίσκο:))))
Να είστε όλοι καλά και συγνώμη που έχω χαθεί. Η οικοδομή μου τρώει τεράστιο χρόνο καθώς κάνω αγώνα να τελειώσω ως τα Χριστούγεννα.

"I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" (Mantz, Tucker) – 2:55
"Bangles" (Walsh) – 2:27
"Onie" (Mantz, Tucker) – 2:43
"Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)" (Mantz, Tucker) – 2:21
"Train for Tomorrow" (Lowe, Ritter, Spagnola, Tulin, Williams) – 3:00
"Sold to the Highest Bidder" (Mantz, Tucker) – 2:16
"Get Me to the World on Time" (Mantz, Tucker) – 2:30
"About a Quarter to Nine" (Dubin, Warren) – 2:07
"The King Is in the Counting House" (Mantz, Tucker) – 2:00
"Luvin'" (Lowe, Tulin) – 2:03
"Try Me on for Size" (Jones, Tucker) – 2:19
"The Tunerville Trolley" (Mantz, Tucker) – 2:34

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Electric Prunes – Underground (1967)

Το ερέθισμα για να ανεβάσω τον δεύτερο δίσκο των Prunes (όχι βέβαια ότι κάποια στιγμή δεν θα ανέβαινε)έδωσε ο φίλος stefanos , τον οποίο τον ευχαριστώ πολύ που μου ξύπνησε εικόνες, πρόσωπα και πράγματα της νεότητας μου.
Κάθε άνθρωπος μάλλον είναι συνδεδεμένος με κάποια πράγματα στην ζωή του και σίγουρα αν ακούει και μουσική, ακούγοντας κάποια κομμάτια του έρχονται οι θύμησες του παρελθόντος. Γύρω στο 81 με 82 τελειώνοντας το Λύκειο επειδή το κωλοβάρεσα άσχημα στην τρίτη τάξη δεν πέρασα πουθενά. Τα οικονομικά βέβαια που ήταν περιορισμένα και έπρεπε να ενισχυθούν ως εργαζόμενος πλέον, αφού αρκετά είχε πληρώσει ο συχωρεμένος ο πατέρας μου για φροντιστήρια και αρκετή πίκρα του είχα δώσει. Η μόνιμη διαμάχη στο σπίτι ήταν οι δίσκοι. Δεν αγόραζα τίποτα άλλο. Υπήρχε μουρμούρα γκρίνια διότι ούτε ρούχο αγόραζα ούτε παπούτσια ούτε τίποτα άλλο.. Για να μην κουράζω, λύση από το πουθενά είχαμε και από τις κασέτες όπου λουφάραμε κανά φράγκο άμα βρίσκαμε να γράφουμε κανένα δισκάκι τζαμπανταν. Ο καλός άνθρωπος Νίκος έδινε κασέτες στον ξάδελφό του και αυτός στον κουνιάδο του που ήμασταν φιλαράκια. Κάποτε ήρθε η ώρα που ακούσαμε Prunes και κολλήσαμε άσχημα. Μετά από δύο χρόνια πέρασα σε μία σχολή, έφυγα από Αθήνα με απαραίτητο αξεσουάρ τον «ροκά». Ο «ροκάς» ήταν ένα κασετοφωνάκι (το έχω ακόμα) που μου κράταγε παρέα. Το Underground έπαιζε καθημερινά και όταν λέμε καθημερινά μιλάμε για 24 ώρες την ημέρα επί μήνες. Προνόησα βέβαια να βγάλω 4-5 κόπιες την κασέτα καθώς ήταν μαθηματικά βέβαιο ότι κάποια στιγμή θα την «μασαγε» (ώπερ και εγένετο).
Δεν ήταν μόνο ο «ροκάς». Το 1985 πήγα ένα ταξίδι Ισπανία με ένα αμάξι Σκόντα 900 κυβικών (με τη μηχανή πίσω) με δύο άλλα φιλαράκια σε ένα ταξίδι που θύμισε Κέρουακ (ότι είχα διαβάσει το βιβλίο του Στο Δρόμο). Στην επιστροφή περνώντας από Ανδόρα αγόρασα ένα walkman σε τιμή ξεφτίλα, οπότε είχα την δυνατότητα κάνοντας ποδήλατο να ακούω το δίσκο. Όσοι για παράδειγμα φίλοι που μπαίνουν στο blog είναι από Χαλκίδα θα ξέρουν που ήταν ο ιππικός όμιλος (πήγαινα και τάιζα τα άλογα καρότα) ή θα ξέρουν που είναι η παραλία στα Σκορπονέρια όπου πήγαινα για διανυκτέρευση.
Ίσως σε κάποιους να φαντάζει υπερβολικό ότι σε μία περίοδο που υπήρχε άλλη μουσική στην πατρίδα μας εγώ είχα κόλλημα με τους Prunes. Και μάλιστα όπως έχω γράψει στο παρελθόν, ήμουν ο μόνιμα εκτός κλίματος στην παρέα όσον αφορά τις μουσικές προτιμήσεις. Είμουνα η «ξενέρα» της υπόθεσης δηλαδή που ειλικρινά δεν με στεναχώρησε καθόλου μα καθόλου.
Καταρχήν στο δίσκο υπήρχε το γούρι μου που ήταν το I Happen To Love You Baby (πως έχω την εντύπωση πως στην αρχή του κομματιού ακούγεται σαν κάποιος να ρουφά τη μύτη του). Ήταν αδύνατον να ξυπνήσω και να μην το βάλω για «καλημέρα». Άμα στο μεταξύ υπήρχε και καμία κοπελιά ροκού και βάζαμε μουσική της έκανα καντάδα με αυτό. Το τραγούδαγα μόνος μου, σούρωνα και το χόρευα για πάρτη μου και ακόμα και τώρα η γυναίκα μου που βαρέθηκε να το ακούει από τοτέ με ρωτά κάθε φορά… «τόσα χρόνια δεν βαρέθηκες να το ακούς?» .
Για μένα το καλύτερο κομμάτι των Prunes είναι το I Happen To Love You Baby. Το ακούω και με θυμάμαι νεαρό, το ακούω και βλέπω το παρελθόν μου, το ακούω και αισθάνομαι νέος. Όλη η αξέχαστη φοιτητική ζωή περνά από μπροστά μου.
Υπήρχε βεβαια και το «Ι»…άκουσμα με τις ώρες. Να προσπαθώ από το κασετοφωνάκι σταμάτα ξεκίνα τη κασετα να γράψω και να καταλάβω τι λενε οι στίχοι λέξη προς λεξη.
Υπήρχε το The Great Banana Hoax που έπαιζε λίγο πριν βγω βόλτα με τη «μπέμπα» το R25/3 (το τρέμουλο της φωνής θύμιζε ήχο από μηχανή) δηλαδή που βλέπετε κάτω στο μπλογκ…Trust Me, you Know you got to trust me, cos if you don’t you bust me… Υπήρχε το Antique Doll… για στιγμές αυτοκριτικής που ελεγε κάπου στην αρχη… today it’s not tomorrow but for you it’s yesterday, your future it’s your past, you can’t hide your self away.
Περιττό βέβαια να πω όταν μετά από λίγα χρόνια τυπώθηκε The Electric Prunes Underground 1986 Greek vinyl LP RS-6262 τι έγινε.

Στο αρχείο που ανέβασα έχω συμπεριλάβει όλες τις φωτογραφίες που έχω από Prunes (γύρω στις 60 νομίζω)

Interview with James Lowe, lead singer of the Electric Prunes

Do you know what those strange sounds are on "The Great Banana Hoax," where it sounds like a motorcycle revving up at the beginning?
Voice on tremolo, again at top. That is a "growl" done vocally and slowed down some. I wanted to suggest moving furniture in heaven when we did it. It was just a device to make you take notice. A rock swirling around in a bucket.

What is that crying noise heard near the end of "Antique Doll"?
Us crying at double speed. We played around with tape speed a lot....vso they called it.

It's Not Fair" is (like much of the record) peculiar in composition: a fairly standard shitkicking country-blues-rock tune that suddenly goes haywire at the end. What did you and Mark have in mind when you write this and devised the tag?
It was written for my mom, she said we never did any country tunes. I wanted to write a song for Mark to "preach"'s so unlike him. We just laughed at Dave, he said country was a no no for a rock we made it more country. We were just having some fun.

I think a hit-single-that-never-was on the second album is Goffin-King's "I Happen to Love You." What was it that attracted the band to the song? Also, were you aware that there was a previous single of the song by the Myddle Class, an East Coast group whose bass player was Charles Larkey, Carole King's future husband?
We thought that song was cool......I was surprised they didn't think it good enough for a 45. Didn't know there was another version of it...I know Ellen Goffin, Gerry's ex-wife, perhaps there is a cosmic connection?

And, two "noises" question for "I Happen to Love You": what is that harp-like sound at the beginning (sounds like a run down piano strings?), and the instrument that plays the instrumental break (sounds like an electronic keyboard to me)?
Autoharp at top. Vox electronic organ guitar solo. They brought a prototype in and took it back after they heard what we did with it.

"Dr. Do-Good" is certainly my nomination for strangest Electric Prunes track; it sounds like a kiddie horror movie or children's hour theme run amok. What are your memories of this song and its recording?
Dave laughing at the end. I told him I couldn't do it and he kept showin' me how so we said, "you do it". It reminded me of Nervous Norvus who had a song called "Transfusion".......novelty stuff.

Do you remember how that effect at the very beginning was achieved, in which a bunch of voices blur together in a distorted fashion?
That is Ken Williams on a prototype slide guitar, kind of a steel guitar thing someone gave us. It was overdubbed numerous times and turned around, I think. I liked it, real noise.

Were you pleased with Underground overall, and would you say it is the most accurate representation of the band's skills, particularly as it has the most original material of any of the three albums?
We had lost heart by then....we knew we could have done better. That is where we were then.

James Lowe - Vocals, Autoharp & HarmonicaMark Tulin - Bass, Organ & PianoKen Williams - Lead Guitar & Effects'Weasel' Spangola / Mike Gannon - Vocals & Rhythm Guitar (See Note 1)Preston Ritter / Quint - Drums (See Note 2)

Side 1
1. The Great Banana Hoax (Lowe / Tulin) 3.05
2. Children Of Rain (Williams / Williams) 2.30
3. Wind-Up Toys (Lowe / Tulin) 2.27
4. Antique Doll (Tucker / Mantz) 3.10
5. It's Not Fair (Lowe / Tulin) 2.00
6. I Happen To Love You (Goffin / King) 3.12
Side 2
1. Dr. Do-Good (Tucker / Mantz) 2.27
2. I (Tucker / Mantz) 5.10
3. Hideaway (Lowe / Tulin) 2.37
4. Big City (J. Walsh / D. Walsh) 2.45
5. Capt. Glory (J. Lowe) 2.11
6. Long Day's Flight (Weakley / Yorty) 3.09

Note 1
Near the end of recording 'Underground', Weasel Spagnola left the band due to medical reasons and was replaced by Mike Gannon, although Spagnola was still credited on the album cover with photo and name. Gannon joined just in time to only record two songs - 'Long Day's Flight' and 'The Great Banana Hoax'.

Note 2
Preston Ritter left during the recording of 'Undergound' due to musical differences. He was offered the choice between being credited on the album cover with photo / name or have royalties from the album sales. He choose the royalties. Unfortunately, he got no album credits or royalties!!!
Preston Ritter's replacement, Quint, actually only played on five tracks on the albums - 'Children of Rain', 'Antique Doll', 'I', 'Captain Glory' and 'Long Day's Flight'.
Produced by : Dave Hassinger
Arranged by : The Electric Prunes
Recorded at : American Recording Company
Electric Engineers : Richie Podolor and Bill Cooper
Cover Photos : Tom Tucker
Art Direction : Ed Thrasher

On the cover of 'Undergound' was the address of the "fan club" :
The Electric Prunes Appreciation Society1800 No. Argyle St.Suite 303HollywoodCalifornia

Monday, October 13, 2008

Isocrates (436 -338 B.C.)

“Our democracy is being self-destructed because it has abused the right of freedom and equality, because it has taught its citizens to regard rudeness as a right, illegality as freedom, using improper language as equality, and anarchy as well-being and happiness”

Could Isocrates have said all of the above today?

"Η Δημοκρατία καταστρέφεται διότι καταχράστηκε το δικαίωμα της Ελευθερίας και της Ισότητας. Έμαθε στους πολίτες να θεωρούν την αυθάδεια ως δικαίωμα, την παρανομία ως ελευθερία, την αναίδεια του λόγου ως ισότητα, την αναρχία ως ευδαιμονία."
Κάτι τέτοια διαβάζεις και μετά αναρωτιέσαι τι παραπάνω πρόσθεσαν σε όλους αυτούς τους αξεπέραστους γίγαντες του νου και του πνεύματος, οι κατοπινοί.

Country Joe & The Fish - Electric Music For The Mind (1967)

Ένας κλασικός δίσκος. Τι ντεμπούτο όμως συγκροτήματος ε? Ένας δίσκος που εκτιμώ ότι πρέπει να βρίσκεται σε κάθε σοβαρή δισκοθήκη. Κάντε αν είναι δυνατόν μια αναδρομή στο μυαλό σας και σκεφτείτε πόσους τέτοιους δίσκους θυμάστε να κυκλοφόρησαν εκείνη την εποχή ως ξεκίνημα συγκροτήματος, το οποίο όμως να είχε συνέχεια. Εκτιμώ ότι δεν θα θυμηθείτε πολλούς με αυτή την ποιότητα και με αυτό το περιεχόμενο. Δεν του βρίσκω κανένα ψεγάδι (το μόνο ψεγάδι είναι ότι δεν χωρούσε γαμώτο κι άλλα κομμάτια) απολύτως καθώς είναι ένας δίσκος διαχρονικός, ολόφρεσκος που ενδεχομένως θα έπρεπε να φύγει στο διάστημα όπως το Satisfaction, έτσι ώστε οι «εξωγήινοι» να καταλάβουν τι θα πει ψυχεδέλεια (για σκεφτείτε ότι για να χαρακτηρίσουν αυτή τη μουσική έδωσαν μία Ελληνική λέξη. Υπάρχει καμία άλλη λέξη που να χαρακτήρισε κάποιος είδος μουσικής του περασμένου αιώνα? Αυτή τη στιγμή δε θυμάμαι). Ίσως υπερβάλλω με αυτά που γράφω, έτσι ακριβώς όμως τα πιστεύω.
Κάποτε για το HERE WE ARE AGAIN που είχα ανεβάσει, είχα γράψει ότι το αγόρασα από ένα μαγαζάκι στην Φορμίωνος (δίπλα στην Εθνική Τράπεζα), τον Ρυθμό. Από κει αγόρασα και αυτόν πιτσιρικάς, με ότι περίσσευε από το χαρτζιλικάκι που έπαιρνα. Αυτούς τους δίσκους που αγόρασα με στέρηση τους εκτιμώ ιδιαίτερα αφού τους πονάω. Όταν τα χρόνια πέρασαν και είχα την σχετική άνεση να αγοράσω ένα δίσκο ευκολότερα, δεν είχε πλέον την ίδια συναισθηματική αξία. Πιάνω το δίσκο να τον βγάλω φωτογραφία και με θυμάμαι 18 χρονών να τον κρατάω όλο χαρά βγαίνοντας από εκείνο το συνοικιακό μαγαζάκι. Πάνε τα χρόνια, πέρασαν φίλοι μου…πέρασαν και πίσω δε γυρνάνε τα πρόστυχα.

COUNTRY JOE MCDONALD gtr, vcls, hmnca A

1(D) ELECTRIC MUSIC FOR THE MIND AND BODY (Vanguard VSD 79244) 1967 39
2(D) I-FEEL-LIKE-I'M-FIXIN'-TO-DIE (Vanguard VSD 79266) 1967 67
3(D) TOGETHER (Vanguard VSD 79277) 1969 23
4(E) HERE WE ARE AGAIN (Vanguard VSD 79299) 1969 48
5(-) GREATEST HITS (Vanguard VSD 6545) 1969 74
6(-) C J FISH (Vanguard VSD 6555) 1970 111
8(-) RE-UNION (Fantasy 9530) 1976 -
9(-) THE EARLY YEARS (The Rag Baby EP's) (Rag Baby AMR 3309) 1981
10( ) LIVE! FILLMORE WEST 1969 (Dble) (Vanguard-Comet 139/140) 2000
NB: Of recent interest to collectors will be a European double CD The Vietnam Experience. LPs (1), (2) and (7) have been reissued. (10) includes cameo appearances by Steve Miller and Jerry Garcia. (10) also issued on CD (Vanguard VCD 139) 1996, the double vinyl version listed is an Italian-only issue.
NB: (1) The I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag plus one other track. 'B' side contains two tracks by Pete Krug. Issued in an oversize envelope jacket printed on both sides. (2) Bass Strings plus two other tracks. The first edition was issued in hard carboard PS with group name above and below the front sleeve photo. (3) Bass Strings plus two other tracks. Subsequent editions issued in hard carboard PS with group name entirely above front sleeve photo. (4) Kiss My Ass plus two other tracks. Joe McDonald is backed by Grootna on this EP. Issued in oversize envelope jacket printed on both sides. (2) and (3) are different pressings of the same EP. These EPs were issued on the LP The Early Years in 1981 and reissued on Decal LIK 8 (1987), One Way and Sequel (NEX CD 228) 1992. (2) features Bass Strings, Thing Called Love and Section 43 and can also be heard, along with The Frumious Bandersnatch, Mad River and Notes From The Underground EPs, on one CD, The Berkeley EPs (Big Beat CDWIKD 153) 1995. More recently, Akarma has produced a deluxe LP-size box set containing (1), (2) and (4) in their original packaging plus seven double sided pages of sheet music, lyrics and text (Akarma 2019/3) 2001, also issued as a CD box set.

1 Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine/Masked Marauder (Vanguard 35052) 1967 95
2 Janis/Janis (Instrumental) (Vanguard 35059) 1967 -
3 Who Am I?/Thursday (PS) (Vanguard 35061) 1967 114
4 Rock And Soul Music Pt1 /Pt2 (Vanguard 35068) 1967 -
5 Here I Go Again/You Drive Me Crazy (Vanguard 35090) 1969 106
6 Janis/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag (Vanguard 35112) 1970 -
NB: In the U.K. only the first 45 and 'Here I Go Again/it's So Nice To Have Love' (Vanguard VA3) were issued. Other European releases included: The Fish Cheer + F.U.C.K/Rock and Soul Music (Vanguard 119023) 1969 - a French single with B&W picture of Country Joe at Woodstock with a big "F.U.C.K." written on the sleeve. The French censors were probably unable to read english! Country Joe also had a solo 45 in France: Tiger by the Tail / Friend Lover Woman Wife (Vanguard 119028L) 1970, which was housed in a picture sleeve showing a B&W picture of Country Joe

Country Joe and the Fish were the wittiest, most political and most reflective of the Bay Area 'acid' rock bands. Their radicalism emanated mainly from Country Joe McDonald, who was born of leftist parents in El Monte, California in 1942. His Christian name, Joe, was apparently after Joseph Stalin. Musically, his main influences were country and he wrote his first song I Seen A Rocket in support of a colleague's campaign for student presidency. In 1964 he made The Goodbye Blues (his first recording) with Blair Harriman. His first group was The Berkeley String Quartet. Then, with Barry Melton and Bruce Barthol he played in the 13-strong Instant Action Jug Band. The Rag Baby EPs were the first recordings credited to Country Joe and the Fish. They were released starting in 1965 on the Rag Baby label, Rag Baby was a left wing pamphlet magazine. The group, which was based in Berkeley, eventually developed and recorded their superb debut album Electric Music For The Mind And Body. Written to trip to, this was one of the classic albums of the period and contained a broad range of material. There was Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, a song of social satire, drug songs like Flying High, Bass Strings and Section 43, a daring political skit Superbird and the closing love song Grace (presumably about Grace Slick of The Jefferson Airplane) was full of acid-inspired lyrics.
Country Joe left The Fish after this album, getting married and recording a solo album. Barry Melton kept the band together either as The Fish or The Incredible Fish and individual band members wrote their own material. The band reformed a few months later as The Country Joe and The Fish Revue. Although nowhere near as good as their first two albums Together, which included the results of their individual enterprise still has some fine moments notably on An Untitled Protest- another anti-Vietnam protest song and The Streets Of Your Town and Bright Suburban Mr and Mrs Clean Machine which were both protests against their own environment. McDonald is still credited as one of the band on the album sleeve and he appeared on some of the tracks. During 1968 these were extensive personnel changes and as a result Here We Are Again was disappointing.
They appeared at the Woodstock Festival on 21-24 August 1969, with a modified line-up, and performed their infamous Fish Cheer, but only McDonald and Melton now remained from their definitive line-up. They also appeared in Michael Wadleigh's full length movie of the festival in 1970. The same line-up recorded their CJ Fish album. After this the band disintegrated. Briefly in the mid-seventies the whole 1967 line-up reformed for a series of live gigs and the disappointing Reunion album.
Barry Melton later recorded an album with Melton, Levy and The Dey Brothers.
David Cohen has a website at:
(Vernon Joynson/Stephane Rebeschini/Clark Faville)

"Flying High" (Joe McDonald) – 2:38
"Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" (McDonald) – 4:21
"Death Sound" (McDonald) – 4:23
"Porpoise Mouth" (McDonald) – 2:48
"Section 43" (McDonald) – 7:23
"Superbird" (McDonald) – 2:04
"Sad and Lonely Times" (McDonald) – 2:23
"Love" (McDonald, Melton, Cohen, Barthol, Gunning, Hirsh) – 2:19
"Bass Strings" (McDonald) – 4:58
"The Masked Marauder" (McDonald) – 3:10
"Grace" (McDonald) – 7:03

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kensington Market - Avenue Road (1968)

Το όνομά τους το πήραν από μία γειτονική περιοχή του Yorkville Village στον Καναδά. Τους ανακάλυψε το 1967 σε κάποια μπαράκια του Village ο Bernie Finkelstein (βοήθησε τους The Paupers) ενώ μόλις έγινε η διάλυση των Luke And The Apostles, ο Luke Gibson ανέλαβε τα φωνητικά στο γκρουπ. Το 68 έκαναν το soundtrack μίας ταινίας με τίτλο "The Ernie Game" ενώ την ίδια χρονιά κυκλοφόρησαν το 'Avenue Road'. Την επόμενη χρονιά διαλύθηκαν, με άλλους να συνεχίζουν σόλο καριέρες και άλλους να φεύγουν από τον μάταιο αυτό κόσμο (Alex Darou πέθανε το 1970).
Περισσότερες πληροφορίες αλλά και τις φωτό που ανέβασα μπορείτε να διαβάσετε εδώ Στο σαιτ θα βρείτε και ένα κομματάκι που κατέβασα και εβαλα σαν μπόνους το οποίο δεν υπάρχει ούτε στο δεύτερο δίσκο τους.
Ο δίσκος είναι γενικά ευχάριστος με καλύτερη του στιγμή κατά την γνώμη μου το πραγματικά εξαίσιο Speaking of Dreams. Προσωπικά με αγγίζει περισσότερο ο δεύτερος τους δίσκος που νομίζω πως είναι ποιοτικότερος. Κρίνω επίσης υπερβολική την φιλοδοξία που διάβασα παρακάτω ότι λογίστηκαν ως η απάντηση των Καναδών στους Airplane. Μα καταρχήν είχαν άλλο ύφος. Νομίζω ότι προσέγγισαν περισσότερο τα Βρετανικά πρότυπα. Αυτή την φιλοδοξία μάλλον άλλοι πήγαν να τους την κόλλησαν διότι σύμφωνα με όσα διάβασα, μου φάνηκαν μετρημένα παιδιά. Όπως έχω γράψει παλιότερα, ο Καναδάς σπάνια μας απογοήτευσε.

GENE MARTYNEC vcls, gtr, piano A B
KEITH McKIE gtr, vcls A B

1(B) KENSINGTON MARKET, AVENUE ROAD (Warner Bros WS 1754) 1968
2(B) AARDVARK (Warner Bros WS 1780) 1969 SC
NB: (1) was released with two different covers.

1 Mr. John/Kensington Market (Stone 714) 1967 76
2 I Would Be The One/Bobby's Birthday (Stone 721) 1967 -
3 I Would Be The One/Speaking Of Dreams (Warner Bros 7221) 1968 59
4 Witch's Stone/Side I Am (Warner Bros 7265) 1968 -
5 Help Me/Half Closed Eyes (Warner Bros 6061) 1969 -

Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, (they were named after a downtown neighbourhood there), their first 45 was rather punkish but most of their material is in the pop/rock mould. Of both albums, Aardvark is definitely the superior one. The group mixed many clearly Canadian sounds and arrangements into a sometime psych-pop, sometime folk, sometime Cream-acid-rock format which was always entertaining. The first album, Avenue Road, was definitely more poppy and less representative of their live concerts. In Canada (or at least in Toronto), Kensington Market were considered Canada's answer to the Jefferson Airplane. Shades of progressive rock start creeping in on Aardvark's last piece, Dorian (co-written with Pappalardi), where odd, post-psychedelic chords strode alongside an acid/R'n'B rave-up section.
After the group split up in 1969 (barely after the release of their second album), bassist Alex Darou retreated to his apartment, not answering anyone's calls. Known for his bouts of depression, the other band members broke down his door to find him dead from malnutrition. It is assumed he was fasting, and went too far.
Gibson had earlier played with Luke and The Apostles and joined in 1967. He went on to form The Luke Gibson Band and recorded for True North records, a label created by Bernie Finkelstein, who was also Kensington Market's manager. His album was produced by ex-band-member Gene Martynec, who'd become a regular producer for the label. In November 1972 he was considered for the vocal spot in Seatrain. Martynec later played with Silver Tractors and went on to do session and production work.
Kensington Market's albums have been likened to The Beau Brummels - pleasant melodic pop/rock. They were produced by Felix Pappalardi of Mountain fame. Jimmy Watson was a cousin of Van Morrison. They also secured a couple of Canadian hits.
(Vernon Joynson/GB)

1 I Would Be the One
2 Speaking of Dreams
3 Colour Her Sunshine
4 Phoebe
5 Aunt Violet's Knee
6 Coming Home Soon
7 Presenting Myself Lightly
8 Looking Glass
9 Beatrice
10 Girl Is Young

Bobby’s Bithrday

Kensington Market - Aardvark (1969)

Started at Yorkville’s Eastern Sound Studios that winter and mixed at the Henry Hudson building in New York, Aardvark is in many ways, the group’s strongest collection and contains such gems as Martynec and Pappalardi’s ‘Help Me’, McKie’s ‘Half Closed Eyes’ and ‘Think About The Times’, and the aforementioned ‘Side I Am’.
More experimental and progressive than its predecessor, several tracks feature new recruit Toronto University music student and Intersystems member, John Mills-Cockell (b. 19 May 1946, Toronto) who adds the unearthly sounds of his Moog synthesizer to the group’s heady brew.
“The idea of using a sequencer that was like in its day very unusual and the way he used it,” says Martynec. “I think John played a big role in that recording, more than people realise.”
Looking back, McKie feels that Aardvark was a step forward musically. Once again, McKie dipped into the past for some of the songs, notably ‘Think About The Times’, which he’d first performed with the Vendettas. Of his more recent compositions, the singer explains that ‘Have You Come To See?’ (co-written with Martynec) was written on the way to California in September 1968 while under the influence of mescaline.
Listening to some of the tracks, there is a noticeable Beatles feel and McKie admits that the superb ‘If It Is Love’ was influenced by that band’s White Album, in particular Lennon’s ‘Cry Baby Cry’.
To coincide with the album’s release in early 1969, Warner Brothers issued the rare single, ‘Witches Stone’, which was a slightly different version from the one that appeared on the album under the guise of the ‘Ow-ning Man’, backed by ‘Side I Am’.
Despite the promising second album, Kensington Market began to unravel in the spring of 1969. “I think my problem with the Market was too much too soon too fast,” says McKie. “Creatively, things were starting to break down. There was no real creative direction. One of the problems we started having was, I was writing tunes that I think didn’t really fit the format of where we were headed. In a sense, the Market would have been really wise to just take a sabbatical at one point. But in pop music if you take a two-week sabbatical, you’re gone.”

1 Help Me
2 If It Is Love
3 I Know You
4 The Thinker
5 Half Closed Eyes
6 Said I Could Be Happy
7 Ciao
8 Ow-ing Man
9 Side I Am
10 Think About The Times
11 Have You Come To See
12 Cartoon
13 Dorian

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Electric Prunes - Long Day's Flight

Μετά από καιρό καταπιάνομαι ξανά με τους αγαπημένους μου Prunes. Ουσιαστικά όσα χρόνια με «θυμάμαι» να ακούω μουσική ακούω και Prunes. Υπάρχει κόλλημα με μερικά κομμάτια όπως με το I Happen To Love You που θεωρώ ένα από τα κορυφαία τους….ύμνος. Η συλλογή που ανέβασα έχει μερικά κλασικά κομμάτια τους από τα singles τους μαζί με μερικά B-sides. Έτσι απλά…απολαύστε τους.

JIM LOWE vcls, gtr, auto harp, perc A B C
MARK TULIN bs, keyb'ds A B C
MARK KINCAID gtr, vcls D
BRETT WADE bs, vcls, flute D
RICHARD WHETSTONE drms, gtr, vcls D

2(A/B) UNDERGROUND (Reprise RLP 6262) 1967 172
3(C) MASS IN F MINOR (Reprise RLP 6275) 1967 135
4(C) RELEASE OF AN OATH (Reprise RLP 6316) 1968 -
5(D) JUST GOOD OLD ROCK AND ROLL (Reprise RSLP 6347) 1968
NB: (1) and (2) reissued on one CD (Head 3397) 1997. (1) and (2) have also been issued individually on pirate CD's with inferior quality live tracks, from the Stockholm '67 show. (3) and (4) also released in France (Vogue/Reprise CRV 6078 and CRV 6099 respectively) 1968. (3) Later reissued by Midi. (3) also reissued on CD. (4) & (5) issued on one CD. There have also been a number of worthwhile retrospective releases. Long Days Flight (Edsel ED 179) 1986, is a 'best of', later reissued on CD; Stockholm '67 (Heartbeat (CD)HB67) 1997, is an official reissue of a live performance from Swedish Radio, released on vinyl and CD; The Sanctions/Jim And The Lords: The Came The Electric Prunes (Heartbeat (CD)HB65) 2000 is an official reissue of pre-Electric Prunes material; Lost Dreams (Heartbeat (CD)HB68) 2001 is a superb compilation including many rare tracks; and The Singles (Gone Beat EP CD 77013) 1995 is a pirate CD containing 18 singles tracks.

1 Ain't It Hard/Little Olive (Reprise 0473) 1966
2 I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)/Luvin' (Reprise 0532) 1966 11
3 Get MeTo The World On Time/Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) (Reprise 0564) 1967 27
4 Dr Do Good/Hideaway (Reprise 0594) 1967 128
5 The Great Banana Hoax/Wind-Up Toys (Reprise 0607) 1967 -
6 Sanctus/Credo (Reprise PRO 277) 1967
7 Everybody Knows You're Not In Love/You Never Had It Better (Reprise 0652) 1968
8 I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night/Get Me To The World On Time (double A re-release) (Reprise 0704) 1968
9 Help Us/The Adoration (Reprise PRO 305) 1968
10 Shadows (one-sided promo) (Reprise PRO 287) 1968
11 Hey Mr President/Flowing Smoothly (Reprise 0756) 1969
12 Sell/Violent Rose (Reprise 0833) 1969
13 Finders, Keepers, Losers, Weepers/Love Grows (Reprise 0858) 1969
14 Vox Wah-Wah Ad (Thomas 08-0001 32-0) 1966/1967
NB: (6), (9), (10), (12), (13), (14) Promo only releases. (7) and (11) also released in France with PS. There are also two rare French EPs with PS.

The Electric Prunes originated from the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles, although many bio's mistakenly claim that they came from Seattle, since I Had Too Much Too Dream (Last Night) first broke in Seattle and then Boston. In fact their very first live concert to promote the record was in Seattle, and according to their drummer Preston Ritter, a DJ there started the mis-information, by claiming that the band were from that area.
More commercially successful and classier than the average punk bands, they experimented with different types of music. Their first single Ain't It Hard was a brash punk number written by Roger and Terrye Tillson, members of folk-rock duo, Gypsy Trips. It was not a hit and was not issued in the U.K. but, along with the flip side, Little Olive and both sides of their next single (I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night/Luvin), it appeared on a French EP (Reprise RVEP 60098) which is the rarest 'Prunes item. Their debut album provided two U.S. hit singles: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and Get Me To The World On Time. Both also attracted airplay in the U.K. reaching Nos 49 and 42 respectively. The former, starts with a freaky fuzz- box intro - the brain child of their producer, Dave Hassinger. The lyrics and their sound were tailor-made for the druggy days of 1967. Get Me To The World On Time was a driving, urgent rocker, superimposed on top of a culminating whistle sound. Also on the album and the B side to their second single, was Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) which used echo-drumming techniques to good effect. Some of the other numbers like Onie and Train For Tomorrow, were a little more laid back, but still featured acid guitar work. The album peaked at No 113 in the charts.
The second album, which was not issued in the UK, developed their psychedelic experience further. Recorded for the most part by line-up (A), drummer Preston Ritter recalls that he was given the choice between credited on the cover or being given royalties... In fact his replacement, Quint, only played on five tracks, Children of Rain, Antique Doll, I, Capt. Glory and Long Day's Flight. Despite the line-up changes, the album is more consistent than their debut with fine acid guitar work and effective drumming. Sadly, however, it failed to maintain their stream of hits. Of particular note are the psychedelic rockers The Great Banana Hoax, Long Day's Flight (both unsuccessful singles), - the latter a U.K. only issue, Children of Rain and strange, more subtle tracks like Wind-up Toys, Antique Doll and I Happen To Love You. This was a fine album, and it is a pity the group didn't pursue this direction further. It made No 172 in the U.S. charts. Also of note around this time is a non-LP single Everybody Knows You're Not In Love/You've Never Had It Better. This was also issued in the U.K. and in France. The B side is a fine dance number with a great psychedelic intro.
Another recording of note from 1968 is a second French EP (Reprise RVEP 601 10) consisting of Long Days Flight, Dr. Do Good, The Great Banana Hoax, and Captain Glory.
Towards the end of '67 the band embarked on a European Tour, and for many years a short poor quality tape circulated of a recording from Swedish Radio. Intrigued by the performance, 'Prunes fan Simon Edwards spent years tracking down the master-tapes, and clearing the rights to the material. In 1997 his efforts were rewarded with the release of Stockholm '67 in a lavish gatefold sleeve, with booklet of Gered Mankowitz photographs, and tour reminicences from 'Prunes' James Lowe and Mark Tulin. The album, which was also released on CD, is on a par with the excellent H.P. Lovecraft and Shadows of Knight live albums that have recently resurfaced, and captures the band in full flight - It also includes about 45 minutes of material, approx 20 mins more than was originally broadcast.
Their next album Mass In F Minor was backed by an additional orchestra of studio musicians and as the group's identity started to be swamped by Hassinger and Axelrod's grandiose concepts, members of the original outfit started to drop out of the project. Canadian band The Collectors, then based in L.A. and whose two album's were also produced by Hassinger, were brought in to plug the gaps. Mass... is regarded as one of the first rock operas, a mix of gregorian music and psychedelic pop with vocals in Latin, which was written, arranged and conducted by David Axelrod - a neoclassical musician. The opening track Kyrie Eleison is widely known and backed the acid trip in the cemetery scene of Easy Rider. The album climbed to No 135 and was re-released by Midi in 1974. They made a further album in a similar vein that may have also included members of The Collectors, before breaking up, although Dave Hassinger later attempted an unsuccessful comeback with the LP, Good Old Rock And Roll, which contained none of the band's original members. Recent interviews of some original members, notably in Record Collector and Jeff Jarema's Here 'Tis #8, reveal that they were unaware of subsequent machinations by Hassinger so it seems unlikely that the whole truth of the post-Mass period will ever fully emerge.
The Shadows promo is horrendously rare. Shadows was also included in a little-known movie 'The Name Of The Game Is Kill'. It sounds like the song was originally intended for The Doors. A 'Record Collector' article also revealed that different mixes of their 45s were made for the European and American markets. 'For England, they felt that the music ought to be a little more up, peppier. So we would put the material on the capstan and make the songs faster', James Lowe told journalist Mark Paytress.
In July 2000 Heartbeat have released Then Came The Electric Prunes which unearths pre-Prunes Audiodisc acetates recorded chez Russ Bottomley - twelve tracks from 27th March 1965 by the Sanctions (Jim Lowe, Ken Williams, Mark Tulin and Mike Weakley) and four tracks from 29th September 1965 by Jim And The Lords (with Dave Hargrave added to the previous line-up). The Sanctions' sound is of a garage band with surf roots performing popular covers including Long Tall Sally, Money, Moon Dog, Love Potion Number Nine, What'd I Say, Jack The Ripper and of course Louie Louie. With the Jim and The Lords tracks - Little Olive, I'm Free, I'm Down and Too Many People - the surf influences are replaced by raw harmonica and a raucous punk style ala Stones and Seeds. A folk-rock lilt on I'm Free marks another development since the March sessions. The sound quality is surprisingly good considering the source. With previously unseen photos this is a must-have for any Prunes fan.
In 2001, the retrospective Lost Dreams CD/Dble LP compilation appeared. Produced by Jim Lowe, it contains their debut 45, the Vox wah-wah ad, a selection of the strongest tracks from the first two albums (many in unreleased studio 4-track form) plus three never-released tracks: the mythical Shadows, a demo of the Hollies' I've Got A Way Of My Own and World Of Darkness. The fab double-LP package comes in a gatefold adorned with numerous band photos and a coloured insert sheet depicting 45 labels and pic sleeves from around the world.
The Electric Prunes were undoubtedly pioneers in experimentation with psychedelic and quasi-religious music. They certainly made some fine singles and had they not been overshadowed by San Francisco's own psychedelic sound may well have achieved wider recognition. Their first two albums, both reissued a few years ago, or alternatively the Edsel compilation are highly recommended.
(Vernon Joynson/Max Waller/Stephane Rebeschini)

1. Ain't It Hard
2. Little Olive
3. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
4. Luvin'
5. Get Me To The World On Time
6. Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
7. Bangles
8. Train For Tomorrow
9. Sold To The Highest Bidder
10. Try Me On For Size
11. Dr Do-Good
12. Hideaway
13. The Great Banana Hoax
14. Children Of Rain
15. Antique Doll
16. I Happen To Love You
17. Long Day's Flight (Til Tomorrow)
18. You Never Had It Better

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Whole Lot of Rainbows: Soft Pop Nuggets From The WEA Vaults

Δευτέρα…η ωραιότερη μέρα της βδομάδας καθώς έχουμε έξοδο (η μοναδική τη βδομάδα) μετά μουσικής που βάζουμε οι ίδιοι. Μια αξιόλογη συλλογούλα λίγο πριν φύγω (το αρχείο θα ανέβει κατά τις 5 το πρωί που θα γυρίσω καθώς απ΄ότι βλέπω θέλει καμιά ωρα να ανέβει ακόμα). Ο χρόνος μου παραμένει εξαιρετικά περιορισμένος αφού τρέχω να προλάβω και δεν προλαβαίνω. Υπομονή έως τα Χριστούγεννα.
Να περνάτε όσο μπορείτε καλά.

There's an old adage that during the '60s anything seemed possible. Certainly, the unlikely group of middle-aged producers, studio vocalists, and reformed folkies featured on this collection proved this to be true. They sang of sunshine, cotton candy, and, of course, love in a totally irony-free context. One must remember, it was a time when The Mamas & The Papas were actually considered a rock band, and The Association claimed they played "bluer blues than The Rolling Stones." Sure, there were dark days ahead: People got heavy, rock became adult, and the music contained herein was deemed suitable only for those "other adults." Nevertheless, a critical reappraisal of these sophisticated sounds has provided a beautiful afterlife for sunshine pop. It is now widely coveted, collected, and consumed. Heck, nowadays, soft disciples can openly exclaim that "Kites Are Fun" without fear of a hippie hitting them over the head with a bong, and there is no shortage of hipsters who can correctly spell the name of Curt Boettcher. So, join us in the park, at the beach, or wherever your soft dreams usually transpire. We've got a whole lot of rainbows to find!
(Andrew Sandoval)

1. Come to the Sunshine - Harpers Bizarre
2. Candy Apple, Cotton Candy - Pat Shannon
3. Whole Lot of Rainbows - The Salt
4. Love-In - Morning Glories
5. Talking to the Flowers - The Everly Brothers
6. Our Dream - The Munx
7. Take My Hand - Lee Mallory
8. Come on In - The Association
9. Just What I've Been Looking For - The Vogues
10. Silver and Sunshine (How Wonderful Is Our Love) - Looking Glass, Looking Glass
11. Happiness - Anita Kerr, Anita Kerr, Anita Kerr Singers
12. If You Know What I Mean - The Gas Company
13. Wounded - The Cookies
14. Hung Up on Love - The Other Voices
15. For All That I Am - The Tokens
16. Summer Days, Summer Nights - The Street Corner Society
17. Discrepency - The Bonniwell Music Machine
18. Scorpio Red - The Holy Mackerel
19. Beverly Hills - Uncle Sound
20. Tell Someone That You Love Them - Dino, Desi & Billy
21. Time to Love - Addrisi Brothers
22. Someday Man - The Monkees
23. Trip to Loveland - Los Coronados
24. No One Was There (Requiem) - Gates of Eden

Canterbury Music Festival – Rain and Shine (1968)

1 RAIN AND SHINE (BT Puppy BTPS-1018) 1968 R2

1 First Spring Rain/Poor Man (BT Puppy 541) 1968
2 Super Dooper Trooper/Mister Snail (BT Puppy 553) 1968
3 Sunny Day/Mister Snail (BT Puppy 562) 1969

The Canterbury Music Festival album Rain & Shine is one of those mysterious affairs from the late 1960s that are talked about with hushed breaths, in dark corners of lounge clubs and bedrooms. Imagine if you will a band with a heart of gold, a few songs to be demo'd, and the luck to hook up for a few brief moments with one of the best kept secrets of the 1960s, and you have an idea of what The Canterbury Music Festival was like. Add to that, the fact that the band never even knew this album was issued, and even if they did know about it, they probably would not have received a copy, because only around 150 copies were even pressed and distributed.

The Canterbury Music Festival album Rain & Shine was released on The Token's record label BT Puppy in 1968, after a handful of single releases, and probably after the group had already broken up. Lost in the shuffle of other BT Puppy releases, The Canterbury Music Festival all but disintegrated, only to be discovered years later by the soft pop aficionados at Rev-Ola in the UK .

Rain & Shine contains The Token's brand of harmony pop, something they had been doing for years with hits like The Lion Sleeps Tonight, but in the late 1960s had combined with a Beatlesque brand of pop. This combination created a unique harmony hybrid (check out the amazing under-rated soft pop platter The Tokens recorded called Intercourse if you don't believe me), and thanks to the involvement of The Token's themselves in production and songwriting, this album shines with a '60s pop delight. There's a shimmering and delicate sheen to the album, like rain falling on a bed of leaves in the fading days of Autumn. Plucked guitars, fuzzed but minimal organ, two-toned bass lines (a Token's trademark which is put to good use on Rain & Shine), the sweet harmony vocals and the sunshine sadness of the lyrics, all combine together for a host of amazing songs.

First Spring Rain gives a good indication of the sound of the album from the start. The plucked guitars, the gliding string arrangement and the lush backing vocals will either send you into a soft pop heaven or dull the nerves of the more jaded. I for one am transported, and continue to be on the next song, Sunny Day, which is even more blissful with its melodic guitar lead (which recalls a lounge version of the 80s band Felt), hushed lead vocals and it's delicate yet soaring arrangement. Sharin steps back in time for an early 60s feel, an almost Buddy Holly styled tune (written by the enigmatic figure Brute Force).

Why Does Everybody Run to Home? continues the melodic guitar leads found in Sunny Day, but with a hint of early 60s vocal style. A really beautiful tune with elfin lead vocals.

Super Duper Trooper is the fuzzed out psych pop tune buried on this album, just waiting to be dug out and enjoyed. You can't go wrong with a song about a psychedelic cop that will pull you over using a light show - with siren sounds and a Beatles stomp in the guitars.

You're the Only Good for Me (another Brute Force number: he's definitely a 60s songwriter worth looking into, I think) is a sweet soulful number. Mr. Snail is an incredible gem of a Token's song (they released their own version at this time as well) with a swaying Beatlesque beat (and theme - the songs about a snail!) and a throbbing bassline which mixes dreamily with the swirling keyboards. The best part of Poor Man has to be the plucked guitars which mix well with the swaying melody of longing.

Angelina is a beautiful song with more of the soulful rhythm backing and a catchy as all heck chorus which should have been the hit from this album. Pamela is a real beautiful bonus song (which was released by a group called The Train but written by members of The Canterbury Music Festival) and is lounge pop heaven.

That's not to say Rain & Shine is not without its faults. The album has a feeling like it was recorded over a year or two (perhaps from 1965-1968), and it has a bit of a cobbled together feel to it. Even at a short length, there are still two instrumentals that don't add to the whole so well. Girl of the Skys is the better of the two with it's acoustic guitar melody, but seems unfinished or under developed. There's also an instrumental cover of Dusty Springfield's The Son of a Preacherman which is an odd song choice and not performed all that memorably.

01.First Spring Rain
02.Sunny Day
04.Why does Everybody Run Home
05.Girls Of The Skys
06.Super Duper Trooper
07.You're The Only Good For Me0
8.Mr. Snail
09.Poor Man
10.The Son Of A Preacherman

Friday, October 03, 2008

Rose Garden - Rose Garden (1968)

Κατακλυσμός, υγρασία, ατέλειωτο πήξιμο και καθόλου μα καθόλου ελεύθερος χρόνος. Έφυγα για σχολείο.Καλημέρα σε όλους μας.

JOHN NOREEN ld gtr, vcls A
DIANA DE ROSE gtr, vcls A

1(A) ROSE GARDEN (Atco SD33-255) 1968 176

1 Next Plane To London/Flower Town (Atco 6510) 1967 17
2 Here's Today/If My World Falls Through (Atco 6564) 1968

A lightweight pop outfit. Four members came from California, one West Virginia, and the band were based in the Los Angeles area. Their best known song Next Plane To London, with Diana De Rose on lead vocal made No. 17 in the U.S. charts. It was written by Kenny Gist Jnr. (aka Kenny O'Dell).
The album, which is certainly not psychedelic although I've seen it described as such, contains a cover of Bob Dylan's She Belongs To Me and two nice Gene Clark compositions Till Today and Long Time. One of its better cuts is February Sunshine, a bright'n'breezy piece of flower-pop, which had been a minor hit for The Giant Sunflower. Their second 45 was non-LP.
The Rose Garden's roots were in a teen act formed by Bruce Bowdin, John Noreen and Jim Groshong in around '64. They chose an "anglophile" name, The Blokes, to reflect their repertoire of Beatles covers and by 1965 had recruited 15 year old Bill Fleming on bass. Bill remembers: "The guys had been heavily influenced by the Byrds about this time. We literally had every Byrds tune from their first three albums in our repertoire. John was an accomplished 12-string guitar player."
Sometime in late ' 66 or early ' 67 Jim Groshong met Diana De Rose, in Hollywood and she asked him to join the band that she was in at the time. Instead, Diana ended up joining The Blokes. Bill: "With her came a fellow named David Hanson who fancied himself as a manager. He got us a lot of non-paying gigs in Hollywood and eventually through him we met Kim Fowley. We hung out at his place, but none of us ever lived there that I was aware of. The guys still lived at home with their parents. It is possible that Diana may have stayed there for brief periods of time."
"Dunhill Records, who I think was run by Lou Adler at the time, had recorded February Sunshine with a band called Giant Sunflower - Everything was flower power at that time - but the band was not under contract. When the song started to climb they need a band to go with it, so we became Giant Sunflower, but that only lasted for about a month. We felt that we would probably get sued and really preferred to make it on our own, so we left that arrangement."
"Through David the manager we then met Charles Greene and Brian Stone. They had "discovered" Sonny & Cher and had produced some early songs for Buffalo Springfield. Their promotional man was Pat Pipolo, and Kenny Gist, Jr. (Kenny O'Dell) was a relative of his - that's how we got to record Next Plane To London."
With Next Plane To London riding high in the charts, Rose Garden began the promotional circuit... They had aleady played many of the local clubs such as Gazzarri's on the Strip (with The First Edition that later sent Kenny Rogers on his way to fame), Bito Lito's, The Cheetah (with Eric Burdon) - described by Bill as "a weird truly psychedelic place that was on a pier on Santa Monica Beach".
"We did most of the teen TV shows: American Bandstand was the only national show, but there were many local and syndicated shows: 9th Street West (with Canned Heat), Groovy, and The Woody Woodbury Show (with Bobby Vee). These were all Los Angeles shows, and usually local shows in many of the towns where we toured."
"We were booked on many package tours and played several dates with Tommy James and The Shondells, Neil Diamond, The Box Tops, The Association, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Glen Campbell, Ohio Express, Billy Joe Royal, Jay and The Techniques, Canned Heat, and Stone Poneys at various times. New Year's Eve 1967 in Fort Worth was particularly memorable with both Chuck Berry and Little Richard being on the same bill. Most of these tours went through the South, Southeast and Midwest states, probably because our agent was based in Texas..."
When the second single didn't make it, and with friction between Diana and the other band members reaching critical mass, the band broke up in late ' 68. They later reformed in 1969 without Diana and Bruce (he had married and moved to Texas), with Bill Fleming's brother Ed joining as drummer. But after a few local gigs they split for good.
John Noreen went on to be a respected studio musician in Nashville, playing steel guitar for virtually everybody there. He also toured with Highway 101 (a country act) in the eighties, was a member of John Davidson's nightclub band in the seventies, and was in a band called Rotondi. Bruce Bowdin settled in Texas. Jim Groshong played solo in small clubs in Southern California and Bill Fleming has been a Police Officer in the Los Angeles area (NOT LAPD!) since 1973.
Bill: "We were approached about a big sixties revival three day festival to be held in Southern California about ten years ago. Bruce was in Texas, but agreed to participate; Jim, John and I got together, but then John had a commitment to finish a tour with Highway 101. Jim and I thought that John's 12 string was too important to our sound, so that ended that."
(Vernon Joynson w/thanks to Bill Fleming)

1.Next Plane To London
2.I'm Only Second
3.February Sunshine
4.Coins Of Fun
6.She Belongs To Me
7.Flower Tone
8.Till Today
9.Look What You've Done
10.Long Time