Posts Tagged ‘ 1964 ’

PODCAST 29 Garage,Psych,Folk-Rock

I Will Go  - The Beau Brummels (1965)
You Gotta Run - The Roosters  (1966)
Song of a Gypsy – Damon (1969)
Invisible People - Hamilton Streetcar (1968)
Walkin’ ShoesThe Trolls (1964)
The Losing Game - The Five Americans (1966)
Thesis – The Penny Arkade (1968)
SwimThe Penny Arkade  (1968?)

Do I Love You - Powder (1968)
Wanting YouPaul Revere & the Raiders (1967)
Mother Nature – Father EarthThe Music Machine (1969)
Merry Go RoundReggie King (1969)
So Now You Know Who You Are - Peter Lindahl (1970?)
Think of the Good Times - The Stumps (with the Grodes)  (1967)
Secret Police - The Belfast Gypsies (1966)

Download: Podcast29.mp3
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Koerner, Ray And Glover “Lots More Blues, Rags And Hollers”

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but when white musicians decided to copy and adapt
black popular music forms in the nineteen-fifties and early sixties the result was all too often insipid,
sanitised shades of what had been urgent, emotive works. Fortunately there were exceptions:
Koerner, Ray And Glover may have been to all intents and purposes a white Sonny Terry And
Brownie McGee, but their version of the acoustic blues and plantation folk music was no less brash,
enthusiastic and full of energy than that of Sonny and Brownie.

“Spider” John Koerner, whose nickname allegedly derived from his being built like a harvestman
and walking like one, was an early reviver of the acoustic country blues and acapella field hollers
largely abandoned by the classic black bluesmen when they moved north from the Delta and
embraced electricity. Adeptly picking his weapon of choice, a seven-string non-resonator National
with an octave G string, and singing in a clear, powerful, distinctly non-black voice, engineering
student Koerner developed his catalogue of Leadbelly and similar covers and upbeat, lyrically witty
originals in the coffee houses around the University of Minnesota, frequently performing alongside
a teenage Bob Dylan (who compliments Koerner in Chronicles, Volume One). Encountering fellow
undergrads “Snaker” Dave Ray, who fingered a rare and mean Martin twelve-string and sang like
Muddy Waters, and Tony “Little Sun” Glover, a then unusual white exponent of blues harmonica, the
trio became official in time to benefit from the explosion of interest in “authentic” white folk music
around 1962.

Their first album, Blues, Rags And Hollers, appeared in a limited vanity run in June 1963 and was
quickly snapped up by Elektra for national distribution. The threesome had taped forty songs in one
twelve-hour session, recording as individuals, as duos (either Koerner or Ray with Glover) and just
occasionally as a trio, and when these were trimmed to twenty the resulting record was raw, gutsy,
one-take, down-home acoustic music, its jug-band feel propelled by Koerner’s favoured percussion
instrument, his foot, crisply recorded with plenty of reverb. The second album, Lots More Blues,
Rags And Hollers
, appeared a year later. After a third and final collection, The Return Of, in 1965,
the group bowed to the inevitable decline in the popularity of unamplified folk music following the
British Invasion and went their separate ways.

It’s been said that the intensity of Lots More is rather less than that of the debut, but to my ears
the record displays more mature musicianship, classier songs and considerably more originality
in the performances, and thus it’s my preferred platter. Outstanding are Koerner’s solo “Whomp
Bom” which highlights his outstanding seven-string dexterity and distinctive vocal; the cover of
Muddy’s “Honey Bee” in which Glover’s buzzing, stinging harp wonderfully complements Ray’s
relaxed vocal and throbbing guitar; and “Fine Soft Land” on which Ray picks an astonishing riff with
a bottleneck on his twelve-string (only Leo Kottke comes close). Both albums are currently available
individually, augmented with bonus tracks, or as a twofer without the extras. The latter includes a
top-quality insert booklet with the original extensive liner notes plus a fine new retrospective.

Unexpectedly, I recently discovered in a charity shop a private-label reunion album the three players
had cut in 1996: One Foot In The Groove. The style hasn’t changed much; the heads are greyer,
the voices hoarser, but the enthusiasm is still audible in the songs and the twelve-strings chime as
sweetly as ever.

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“Honey Bee”

:D CD Reissue | 1999 | Red House | order here ]
:) Original Issue | 1964 | Elektra | search ebay ]
;) MP3 Album | download here ]

The Ikon Records Story

Several years back the good folks at Frantic Records treated us to The Ikon Records Story.  This vinyl sampler of the fabled label was followed by a grand, 2 cd set (60 tracks!), which included plenty of bonus cuts, lost 45s and unreleased tracks.  Many of these tracks were recorded during the prime garage/teenbeat era (1964-1966) at Ikon Studios, which was located in Sacramento, California.

There are no fuzz (Eirik Wangberg’s excellent “Every Night I Dream A Little” is a notable expection – it’s a twisted gem of a record) or freaky garage stompers a la Back From The Grave.  Be that as it may, The Ikon Records Story is loaded with great slices of mid 60′s rock n roll, surf, instrumental numbers, folk-rock, garage punk, spy-themed novelty bits and Brit influenced pop.  It’s nearly the equal of Back From The Grave but focuses on a wider array of vintage teenbeat sounds: key cuts being Madd, Inc.’s powerful, rebel rocker “I’ll Be The One” (a near classic), the Knightsmen’s impressive, Rolling Stones-like “Daddy Was A Rolling Stone,” the Mergers’ fine British Invasion influenced pop rocker ”Love, You Funny Thing,” and The Shondells’ downbeat jangler “It’s True.”

There’s really too many highlights here to list - The Ikon Records Story is a terrific collection of adolescent, fresh-faced sounds from the days when rock music was new, raw and vital.  Most of the original 45′s are so rare that it would cost thousands of dollars to piece this collection together.   If you’re into classic mid 60′s sounds you should really own this superb compilation of regional rock n roll.

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Sel-Sync – The Fire Is Gone

:D CD Issue | 2006 | Crypt Records | search ebay ]

Hot Top 5 1960s Music Videos

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

 

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

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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.

Del Shannon “Sings Hank Williams”

Sings Hank Williams began a string of excellent albums by Del Shannon that culminated with The Further Adventures of Charles Westover from 1968. Not only is this a great country album but many consider this one of the best records from the time. This disc was released in 1964 and predated the country-rock boom by a good 4 or 5 years. That alone makes it a significant release and a must listen for fans of early country-rock. But it’s Del’s performances and the group’s backing that make this a special show.

Throughout Shannon’s career he had reinvented himself many times over. In the early 60s he was a teen idol with the unforgettable hit “Runaway.”   “Total Commitment” and “This Is My Bag,” both mid 60s records, saw Del turn in two fine roots rock efforts. From 1967 to 1968 Shannon did the unthinkable: he went psychedelic, with two great, unsung records, 67′s And The Music Plays On and 68′s Charles Westover. During this time he proved that an early 60s rocker could survive into the late 60s’ experimental environment and still make great albums with artistic value. An amazing career no doubt, but who would have ever expected Shannon to release a hard core country album?

Every track on this LP is worth listening to. Shannon and his group give “Kaw-Liga” an updated, swinging rock n roll feel.  ”That Lonesome Whistle,” possibly my favorite cut on the album, is a superb down and out country track with fantastic vocals – a real young man’s blues. The arrangements are very basic, with steel guitar leading the way – just listen to the great version of “Your Cheatin’ Heart” which opens the disc. “Ramblin’ Man,” another gem, is given Del’s soaring, minor key vocal treatment. There was a reason for the sparse, simple arrangements: Del was trying to capture the mood of Hank Williams’ original band, The Drifting Cowboys. Even more interesting is Del Shannon’s group, many of whom, such as Dennis Coffey, were well known Motown session players.

Del sang his ass off on this recording, giving us performances full of faith and honesty. So in this respect it was a shame that nobody was listening. Neither the rock n roll community or C&W crowd took a liking to this album. It was probably lost amongst albums by the Beatles and Rolling Stones during the first wave of the British Invasion. Sings Hank Williams is stripped down, raw and genuine. There are none of the hokey strings or sappy arrangments that plagued so many country records from this period. This is a great record that shows the true artistry of Del Shannon.

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“Kaw Liga”

;) MP3 Album | download at amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl

The Holy Modal Rounders (self-titled)

The Holy Modal Rounders

A damn fine record! For years, I’ve been trying to get my ears around The Moray Eels Eat The Holy Modal Rounders with limited success. It’s a totally weirded out record that kicks off with the If You Want To Be A Bird single famously featured on the Easy Rider soundtrack. The problem I had understanding Moray Eels was a lack of context – now that I’ve got my hands on this joyous and addictive little gem, I’m more anxious than ever to dive in deeper with the Rounders catalogue.

Bound To Lose: Documentary
Recently, I had the (spur-of-the-moment) opportunity to catch Peter Stampfel introduce a showing of the new documentary film chronicling his band, entitled Bound To Lose. Pete is a real eccentric with an amazing speaking and singing voice, tuneful and squawky like no other. The documentary was quite good and renewed my interest in the Rounders. Instead of uncovering many of the details surrounding the original Holy Modal Rounder recordings (1 & 2, Indian War Whoop, Moray Eels), the doc relied on footage and stories concerning the modern day Rounders. It’s hard to blame the filmmakers for this angle because they are such interesting characters and prolific artists. I highly recommend a rental for fans of the band or those looking for a pleasant introduction to this fascinating group.

You’ve got to start at the beginning, though. Their debut album, way ahead of its time, is one of the most fun records I’ve heard in a while and would spawn the genre of freak folk. The Rounders were heavy into the folk revival scene of the early 60s in NYC’s Greenwich Village and also heavy into drugs. Interestingly, their reworking of Hesitation Blues on this record featured the first recorded use of the term “psychedelic.” The tunes performed here on guitar and fiddle, or guitar and banjo, are essentially folk standards with new and often satirical lyrics. Stampfel confesses to this writing technique in the liners: “hear song, forget song, try to remember song while adding your personal wrinkles, bingo!”

There are traces of the less traditional and electric route the Rounders were headed down on originals like their “hit” song Euphoria and the catchy pop oddity, Mr. Spaceman. Most important to note, of course, are the voices. Sure to turn off casual listeners, but remarkably unique and strangely perfect. Something about their alien brand of harmony is indefinably great, and in brief little moments, truly beautiful. This record is a wonderful ride and an essential slice of music history.

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“Euphoria”

Note: The debut record is packaged as a twofer including their 2nd record, pretty much every bit the equal of the first. Excellent deal ($9 digital download).

:D CD Reissue | 1999 | Fantasy | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1964 | Prestige | search ebay ]