Archive for March, 2009

Lou Christie Sacco “Paint America Love”

Paint America Love buzz

This is probably Lou Christie’s greatest artistic statement to date.  Paint America Love was an ambitious statement by Christie, a total departure from the Four Seasons influenced bubblegum pop he had been releasing throughout the 60s.  His best known songs from the mid 60s were the hits “Lightning Strikes” and “Rhapsody in the Rain.”   Christie was a truly great, underrated artist though and it’s worth noting that he would reinvent his career from bubblegum to sophisticated pop to country, always with great success artistically and commercially. 

Paint America Love was released in 1971 on Buddah.  All the songs were written by Christie and they are a complex, sprawling mixture of pop and Americana.  The arrangements are adventurous and lush as heard on the gorgeous instrumental Campus Rest.  This was no doubt Lou Christie’s Pet Sounds though in musical style, it’s much closer to Sunflower or Surf’s Up.  Christie’s vocals are still wonderful (he has a magical falsetto) and a definite highpoint on this lp.   One can hear shades of his 60s work in the country-rocker Chuckie Wagon – there’s some interesting fiddle and a great chorus on this one.  Some of these tracks take on ecological themes like the pop friendly “Paper Song” while others are a bit more complex like “Lighthouse,” “Paint America Love” and “Wood Child.”  Many consider these tracks the best of Lou Christie’s career although after this lp he would release a good country lp which is also recommended (Beyond The Blue Horizon from 1973). 

But there are other pleasures to behold on Paint America Love,  like the astonishing Beach Boys inspired “Waco” and the achingly tuneful “The Best Way To See America.”  Every track is inspired, the lyrics are personal and the songcraft is very strong.  Paint America Love was one of the best off-the-radar releases from 1971 – it’s as good as early 70s pop gets.  The album finally saw a cd release by Re-Ola in 2008.

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“The Best Way To See America”

😀 CD Reissue | 2008 | Revola | buy at revola | amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1971 | Buddah | search ebay ]

uReview: The CCR Discography

I gotta be honest. I grew up with a ton of Creedence, but I’m not exactly familiar with their LPs. My experience with the band comes largely thru massive classic rock radio exposure and the Chronicle I and II collections. Late last year Fantasy Records reissued CCR’s first six albums on CD and MP3, but I want to hear from you before I dive in:

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Q. Give us your low-down on CCR. What was your runner up album?

Brave Belt “I”

Brave Belt I

Randy Bachman had abruptly quit the Guess Who in the midst of a winning streak.  After two classic albums, Canned Wheat and American Woman, and a host of excellent pop/hard rock singles he decided to get up and leave.  Rock critics panned Bachman’s decision to leave this very successful pop group and more often than not, wrote off this fine debut album from Brave Belt.  Brave Belt was a conscious attempt to create something a bit more experimental and less hard rock oriented.  It was the first time Randy Bachman (lead guitar and bass) and Chad Allen (vocals, rhythm guitar, mandolin) had gotten together on record since 1966’s classic It’s Time album.  Allan was a great vocalist and one of rock’s truly underrated talents.  The remaining members of Brave Belt were Bob Bachman on drums and Ron Holldorson on pedal steel guitar.

The first lp was recorded in Winnipeg and released off RCA in 1971.  Gone was the hard rock stylings of American Woman or the breezy jazz-pop of Undun.  Instead the group offered up a brilliant mix of quiet country-rock and psychedelia.   Both of these worlds collided on the excellent album opener “Crazy Arms, Crazy Eyes.”  This track rocks pretty hard with its Bo Diddley-like beat, attractive pedal steel work and phased drums – one couldn’t ask for a better debut opener.  Personal numbers such as “It’s Over” and “French Kiss” were written by a revived Bachman/Allan partnership.  These tracks along with the more country oriented material recalled the early work of Neil Young or Poco’s reflective numbers on their great debut lp.  “Wandering Fantasy Girl” and “Scarecrow” are a bit more psychedelic in nature with lots of Bachman fuzztone and a nice, druggy studio production.  Another track, “I Am The Man,” is an intoxicating, complex masterpiece with psychedelic guitar work reminiscent of late 60s George Harrison and even some creative mandolin flourishes that give the song an exotic flavor.  The album is great all the way thru though Guess Who fans may be disappointed if they come here looking for a hard rock blowout.

Brave Belt would record one more solid album in 1972 before giving way to Bachman-Turner Overdrive.  Randy Bachman once summarized his experience with Brave Belt: “Too much garbage had been laid down about me that Brave Belt never really had a chance.  Radio stations wouldn’t play us, magazines wouldn’t do stories on us. ”  Rock journalist Larry LeBlanc also added, “Randy got a real shellacking from the music press when he left the Guess Who.”  Many rock fans refer to Brave Belt’s music as Randy Bachman’s bridge from the Guess Who to Bachman-Turner Overdrive.  It’s much more than that though, as this album is arguably more consistent then either of those groups’ best work.  Brave Belt is more experimental and has definitely earned it’s “lost classic” status over time.  Both albums have been reissued in the past though 2009’s Wounded Bird twofer is the easiest way to obtain these recordings.  Highly Recommended.

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“French Kiss”

The Guess Who featuring Randy Bachman and Chad Allan (1965):
mp3: I’d Rather Be Alone

😀 CD Reissue | 2009 | Wounded Bird | 2fer | amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1971 | Reprise | ebay ]
😎 Spotify link | listen ]

The 13th Floor Elevators “Live”

Elevators Live!

International Artists released this live album of dubious quality in 1968.  Live is in fact studio outtakes with applause dubbed over the beginning and end of each track.   At this point the 13th Floor Elevators were crumbling due to drug complications and other legal disputes.  New material was short and International Artists knew this.   So a live album must’ve seemed like a good idea at the time – it would satisfy hungry fans of the group and fulfill contractual obligations.  In the end the above LP didn’t sell and the sound quality is a bit iffy but for the Elevator fan this disc is mandatory listening.  It’s a solid album with quality performances and 5 songs that are unique to this disc only.

“She Lives In A Time Of Her Own,” “Tried To Hide,” “Roller Coaster,” “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and “I’ve Got Levitation” are certainly familar and had been on the Elevators’ prior two groundbreaking LPs.  These cuts are all classic performances that capture the band at the peak of their powers.  But you’re buying this record/CD for the five outtakes that make Live unique.  The Elevators do excellent covers of Buddy Holly’s “I’m Gonna Love You Too” (Erickson nails Holly’s vocal style)  and Solomon Burke’s “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love.”  The latter is given a raunchy garage rock rendition and is one of the LP’s clear highlights.  The two originals are classics too.  “You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore” must have been an outtake from the first album as it’s loaded with crazed vocals,  primitive sound quality, and a tremendous energy (pure mid 60s garage rock at its best).  The other track, “You Gotta Take That Girl,” is more of a folk-rock ballad: an excellent one that shows a sensitive side to this great group.  Note:  Before You Accuse Me and I’m Gonna Love You Too would be released as IA singles in 1967/1968.

Live has been marginalized for many years, perhaps for its fake crowd sound FX, but I think it’s held up pretty well over time.   Much has been made of the Elevators in recent years.  Some say they were the very first psychedelic group and their music represents the purest form of this experience.  Others have acknowledged Erickson’s vocals and personality coupled with Stacey Sutherland’s acid leads as an enormous influence.   If anything, this release proves the 13th Floor Elevators were a great, down-to-earth rock n roll band that knew how to have fun.   Live is recommended to both the novice and experienced fan.

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“You Gotta Take That Girl”

😉 MP3 Album | Elevators Live! ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1968 | International Artistssearch ebay ]
😎 Spotify link | listen ]

PODCAST 11 Masterpiece of Nonsense

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Running Time: 51:37 | File Size 70 MB
Download:  .mp3
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1.  Mind Your Own Business – Hank Williams (2008 Unreleased Recordings)

2.  Mary Of The Wild Moor – Louvin Brothers (Tragic Songs Of Life – 1956)

3.  Indian Summer –Brewer And Shipley (Weeds – 1969)

4.  Try A Little Sunshine – The Factory (CBS 45 From 1969 – taken from 2009’s Upside Down World of John Pantry)

5.  Dark Thoughts – The New Dawn (There’s A New Dawn – 1970 – taken from 2009 Jackpot Records Reissue)

6.  Children Laughing – Wendy & Bonnie (Genesis – 1968 – taken from 2008 Sundazed reissue)

7.  The Migrant – Tony Joe White (Train I’m On – 1972)

8.   I’m Up and I’m Leaving – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (s/t – 1972)

9.    House Of Mirrors – Mandrake Memorial (s/t – 1968)

10.  I’ve Been Through It Before – The Plagues (Fenton 45 – 1966 – taken from Scream Loud!!! The Fenton Story)

11.  Tree House – Timebox (Unreleased – 1968/1969 – taken from RPM’s 2008 Beggin)

12.   Ride On – The Rokes (Che Mondo Strano – 1967 – taken from 2009’s The Rokes In English 1966-68)

13.  Marley Purt Drive – The Bee Gees (Odessa – 1969)

14. You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore – The 13th Floor Elevators (Live album – 1968-)

15.  Small Faces – Public Nuisance (1968 – Unreleased – Frantic Records 2 cd anthology of the group)

16.   Brains In My Feet – The Purple Canteen (1968 – sole 45 taken from Psychedelic Minds Volume 1)

Death “For The Whole World To See”

For The Whole World To See

Death’s 1974 demo album, released for the first time last month on Drag City, is rupturing the walls of the reissue scene, partly due to the recent NY Times article and its aftermath, but mostly for their obvious claim to one of the first slots in the history of punk.

Death was brothers Dannis, Bobby, and David Hackney, who started off playing RnB but switched to aggressive power-pop after witnessing an Alice Cooper show. Their after-school garage practice sessions soon yielded a trio that was tight, ferocious, and way ahead of its time.

The brothers managed to get signed by Groovesville and even got as far as Clive Davis’s interest but refused to change their name from Death for more commercial opportunity. In 1976, after a dissolution with their record company the Hackney brothers pressed 500 copies of their single: “Politicians In My Eyes” b/w “Keep On Knocking,”  reportedly trading  for $800.  Sadly, brother David, the group’s spark and fervent leader passed away in 2000, too soon to get the recognition he knew would one day come.

Bobby Hackney’s sons, members of Rough Francis, are responsible for digging up the old demo tapes that would become For The Whole World To See, and promoting Death’s music in their live performances. This is the kind of recording that’s usually only rumored about, a thing of legends. Listening to unearthed recordings is always magical, but when it’s something as blisteringly hot and grossly unheralded as Death, the experience is flat-out jaw dropping. 

Thanks to all who sent this in. Death’s record is a mind blower on first listen and a clear early contender for reissue of the year.

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“Politicians In My Eyes”

😀 CD Reissue | 2009 | Drag City | buy from drag city | amazon ]

Fred Neil “Fred Neil”

Fred Neil

From the clatter of the Greenwich Village 60s folk scene came a voice that was inspired, authentic, and extraordinarily deep. Freddy Neil had one of those unmistakable voices, a baritone that could rumble your brain and leave cracks in your spine. Add to that the skills of one of the better blues-folk songwriters; his songs were covered by Karen Dalton, Harry Nilsson, Jefferson Airplane… anybody who knew their stuff.

Released in 1967, Fred Neil is moody, soft, and dark, but shimmers in beautiful electric sound. It lives within the pinnacle of styles from which Freddy would draw his influence: Brill Building chops, cold hard blues, good old folk song, and raga spiritualism. The ten original compositions heard here are masterpiece quality pens. “Everybody’s Talkin'” would put the voice of Nilsson forever in popular knowledge thanks to Midnight Cowboy; Fred refused to sing for the movie and his unornamented version is a refreshing listen. Neil harbored a genuine love for dolphins, championing their causes throughout his life, and recording his dreamy ode to open the record. I harbor a specific love for the bluesy standard, “That’s The Bag I’m In” and songs like “Faretheewell (Fred’s Tune)” are too precious for my description.

Neil was a father figure to many integral players in the folk, blues, and rock movements, cited as an influence by folks like David Crosby and Bob Dylan. Go grab this essential LP if it isn’t already in your collection.

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“The Dolphins”

:) Original Vinyl | 1966 | Capitol | search ebay ]
😀 CD Reissue |  200 6 | Water | amazon ]

Hot Top 5 1960s Music Videos

HAAA, look at this. Our 1960s video list wound up in the hands of Sergio from Infomania on and well, just watch…


Check out our original post and let us know about your favorite pre-mtv vids below.


Before MTV revolutionized the music video format, rock & roll videos were mostly lip-synched reenactments or television appearances. In rarer instances, the filmmaker would push the limits to create an artistic match to the audio it intended to promote (‘promo clips‘). Here’s our 5 favorite pre-MTV promo clips, each with a video as boss as the song:

5. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
This is on the line as it’s a studio lip-synch, but there’s something going on here. Clever camera angles that show the roles of each band member, stoic pacing around the studio, Alan Price pulsating on the Vox Continental, and Eric Burdon’s ice cold performance show this to be an inspired rock video, one of the earliest made.

4. The Kinks – Dead End Street (1966)
After writing the huge Kinks hit, Sunny Afternoon, Ray Davies wanted to write about something a little less sunny and came up with Dead End Street, a fantastic hard-edged single. They got to ham it up for this film, though the BBC refused to show it when they found their antics mixed with Great Depression photos to be in “poor taste.” It’s not hilarious today, but it was one of the first music videos to introduce a plot, of sorts.

3. The Masters Apprentices – Buried And Dead (1967)
This was a pioneering promo clip in Australia’s 1967, influencing many other bands to release videos for their songs. Slow motion and choppy edits of live footage are interspersed with a DIY back-story. This gritty little film nicely captures the feel of the song.

2. The Beatles – Rain (1966)
There’s not a lot of depth here (just the Beatles acting casual, digging their song), but the direction by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, is iconic in style. This clip has everything a traditional music video has like rhythmic back-and-forth edits and trippy B-roll of the band. Stands out amongst the crowd as the fab4 always did.

1. Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues (1966)
Little needs to be said for the classic D.A. Pennebaker film that would elevate the promo clip to an artform. Bob Dylan drops increasingly inaccurate cue cards while Allen Ginsberg chats with Bob Neuwirth in the background in this groundbreaking piece of musical cinema vérité . It’s an all-time classic, recognized and imitated the world over.

Q: Let us know about your favorite 60s music videos.

The JuJus “You Treat Me Bad 1965-1967”

The Jujus

Of all the regional garage bands that were never given the opportunity to record an album, the JuJus were amongst the very best.  They formed in 1964 and played a mixture of frat rock, British Invasion influenced teenbeat and classic garage rock sounds all around the local clubs of Grand Rapids.  Their early tracks can be heard on the above 2009 Cicadelic reissue, it’s an excellent sampling of the group’s career.   The early tracks have saxophones, sappy lyrics and muddy sound but are good for what they are – great frat rock and teenbeat. 

In 1965 the group would cut vocalist/guitarist Ray Hummel’s “You Treat Me Bad/Hey Little Girl” for Fenton.  Fenton was a local label run by electronic/production genuis  Dave Kalmbach and business partner Bruce Smith.  Fenton would cut many, many garage classics but You Treat Me Bad stands out as one of the label’s best.  The vocals are snotty and the tempo is driving; You Treat Me Bad would eventually hit number 2 on local radio.   The JuJus second 45 was cut in Kingtones guitarist Phil Robert Jr.’s basement studio and issued in a picture sleeve on the United label in 1966.  Both sides of “I’m Really Sorry/Do You Understand Me” are superb.  Do You Understand Me has guitar lines straight out of the Stones’ Last Time and is achored down by a nice fuzz solo.  Both recordings sound very crude and primitive but hold a special place in many garage fans’ hearts – this was some of the best rock n roll being pumped out of Michigan at the time.

The JuJus lineup would change quite a bit from 1964 to 1967.  Eventually the group would break up after losing core band members Ray Hummel, drummer Bill Gorski and saxophone player Max Colley.  But before throwing in the towel they would cut a few more songs in 1967 for a possible single release.  The JuJus were constantly evolving and by this time they had grown into a more experimental unit.  They would record two songs that year:  Sometime Or Another and If You Really Love Me.  The latter was a nice slice of power pop with pretty vocal harmonies and a quality guitar oriented arrangement.  Sometime Or Another, a song that was good enough for an A-side release, was the JuJus at their most psychedelic and adventurous.  This track could compete with any “big group’s” best single and was notable for its distorted vocals, blazing fuzz guitar solo and introspective lyrics.  It sounded like a hit but was probably a bit downbeat and too experimental for top 40 radio. 

The above reissue is one of the best garage rock offerings I’ve heard in quite some time.  Cicadelic gives you the classic singles, a good 1965 Ray Hummel Fenton 45 ( in which he is backed by the JuJus) and a slew of quality outtakes.  There are no lame covers and the sound quality is excellent.  The JuJus were a great group whose music still burns brightly in the memories of Michigan locals.  This is mandatory listening for anyone interested in pure rock n roll.

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“I’m Really Sorry”

😀 CD Reissue | 2009 | Cicadelic | buy from cicadelic ]

J.K. & Co. “Suddenly One Summer”

Suddenly One Summer

This is a good, semi well-known psych album, indeed there aren’t too many 60s rock fans that dislike J.K. & Co.’s Suddenly One Summer.  It’s the only album this group would release.  Prior to Suddenly One Summer, Jay Kaye had been in the Loved Ones, though I don’t think this band released any singles.

Jay Kaye was only 15 years old when he recorded this album in 1968.  The lyrics, vocals, songs and musicianship are remarkably advanced for someone who was so inexperienced in the studio.  Jay Kaye made the trip from Las Vegas to Vancouver, Canada to record the lp with top flight session musicians (among them members of noted Vancouver band Mother Tucker’s Yellow Duck).  The album was inspired by recent Beatles’ masterpieces and of course LSD, so it’s not surprising that much of this record is full of orchestral psychedelia and heavy studio effects – music with a spiritual slant.  Another teen, Robert Buckley aided Jay Kaye with many of the album’s arrangements and psychedelic effects.  It was he who created the decaying backward effects on the masterful “Fly,” a track that sounds well ahead of its time and similar in feel to prime-era Radiohead (though 30 years prior).

Suddenly One Summer was conceived as a concept album and briefly featured in Billboard claiming “to depict musically a man’s life from birth to death.”  At least half the album is full of great psychedelia.  “O.D.” features wild guitar playing, great drug addled madness, and soaring vocals, “Fly,” as mentioned before, is an all-time psych classic, and “Magical Fingers Of Minerva” is a great sitar based rocker that usually ends up on trippy compilations.  Other compositions of note are the gorgeous acoustic track “Nobody,” a great pop rocker titled “Christine,” and the dramatic finale, “Dead.”  The LP plays from strength to strength and never falls off into the deep end.

J.K. & Co.’s album was a decent size underground hit in California, leading White Whale to release a single to capitalize on the group’s popularity.  They chose the 36-second album opening intro which at the time was seen as a major marketing disaster.  In the end, White Whale’s terrible management blunder would halter the career of Jay Kaye and also hurt the company’s ability to market J.K. & Co as a serious group.   After the record’s release Kaye had even put together a band with his Cousin John (bass) and friend Rick Dean (drums) to promote the LP’s songs live but success eluded them.  In 2001 Sundazed released this great conceptual acid album through their BeatRocket label.

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:) Vinyl Reissue | BeatRocket | 2001 | buy from sundazed ]
😀 CD Reissue | BeatRocket | 2001 | buy from sundazed ]