Posts Tagged ‘ 1966 ’

The New Colony Six “Breakthrough”

Breakthrough

This midwesterner is jam packed full of great songs in the classic garage tradition. The New Colony Six was founded by lead vocalist Ray Graffia but included a fine guitarist by the name of Jerry VanKollenburg, organist Wally Kemp, bassist Craig Kemp, vocalist Pat McBride and drummer Chic James.

They took Chicago by storm on their debut Centaur single I Confess (1965) which is featured on the above lp. It was a tough British Invasion powered single that reached the #2 position on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey. Confess was only kept from being a #1 local hit by Lou Christie’s “Lightning Strikes” and notable for the inventive guitar sound created by VanKollenburg feeding his instrument through a Leslie speaker.

Around the time of recording their debut lp, the band decided to release the legendary At The River’s Edge single. Although the very good flip I Lie Awake received airplay, At The River’s Edge was really their moment in the sun. It was a menacing garage punk single driven by frantic pace and wild harmonica playing, At The River’s Edge was Chicago’s version of Them’s fantastic Mystic Eyes single. At this point the New Colony Six were a popular live act throughout Chicago and were known to raise hell on stage. During the summer of 1966 Breakthrough was released, and if there was any flaw at all with the lp it came down to the two lunk headed covers of current pop rock singles Hang On Sloopy and Mr. You’re A Better Man Than I. The other 10 songs were sterling group originals ranging from tough gritty rockers to softer more melodic folk-rockers. Besides the superb singles other highlights were the Raiders-like A Heart Is Made Of Many Things and the dreamy Don’t You Think It’s Time To Stop You’re Crying which featured more ace guitar work from VanKollenburg. Another song worth pointing out is The Time Of The Year Is Sunset. Other reviewers have mentioned that this reflective gem could be a counter part to the Rising Storm’s killer Frozen Laughter.

All in all this is a very strong debut that will appeal to fans of the early Guess Who, Outburst era Wailers, and mid period Paul Revere and the Raiders. The band released some other fine singles and a respectable though less aggressive garage pop album titled Colonization before transforming into a bubblegum-hit-making act.

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“I Confess”

Below is one of the highlights from their second album Colonization. Let Me Love You was one of their last true classics and underneath the psychedelic production and monstrous fuzz leads is a folk-rock song with a soft, pretty middle section and glittering 12-string guitar runs. They rerecorded a much better version of Mr. You’re a Better Man Than I that works quite well too. While not as good nor as raw as Breakthrough, Colonization is still a solid pop record that hinted at their bubblegum future.

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“Let Me Love You”

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The Remains (self-titled)

The Remains

This album was out of print when I initially reviewed it here, and I’ve got the old flashy yellow cover, which is a Greatest Hits collection but still a blazing hot disc. A month later their self-titled debut lp was reissued featuring the original album artwork, which is an important update. The yellow cover makes the Remains look like some novelty rock act, whereas the cover above restores their authenticity and edge. The Remains are positively one of the best rock bands you’ve never heard.

Barry Tashian and The Remains used to cook it up for Boston audiences back in the mid 60s (they were originally from Brookline), and this record, though none of it recorded live, is still proof. The beauty is in their by-the-book formula: loud rhythm guitars, electric piano, bluesy bass riffs, and most importantly, great songs.

The Remains get it started every time. But apparently they had trouble doing so for Beatles fans. The Remains toured with the fab four a short while, playing to a screaming mob who were impatiently awaiting one of the all time historic rock concerts. But the truth is, the Remains deserved all the same attention back then, and now we can give it back, for the first time in style. Will I be buying the reissue just for the packaging? Yes, I think I will.

Literally, every song on this record is good. Each one a gem so surprisingly radio friendly it’s astonishing to think we haven’t heard these before. They are quick friends with instant familiarity and appreciating resonance.

If you’d like to hear The Remains tear it apart in a live setting, check out A Session With The Remains from Sundazed, a live studio audition recording.

Barry Tashian used to play with Gram Parsons on GP and some stuff for the Burritos. Currently he is playing and recording bluegrass music with his wife, Holly.

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“Time Of Day”

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The Guess Who? “It’s Time”

It’s Time

There is no doubt that It’s Time was the best album from the early Guess Who. This 1966 LP was the first Guess Who record to feature the wild Burton Cummings. It’s Time was the third Guess Who album in 3 years, featuring mostly original/self-penned group compositions.

The album featured a nice balance of personalities: the original band leader Chad Allen, who favored a moody beat style tempered by a rough, hard edge Rolling Stone’s influenced Burton Cummings (future band leader along with Randy Bachman and vocalist on American Woman). Special praise must go to Randy Bachman as well: he conjures a very dirty, fuzzy guitar tone throughout the record. Every song on this album is well-crafted and one can hear the clear influence of the Who, beat era Kinks, Rolling Stones, Zombies, and Byrds. Songs like Clock On The Wall, Believe Me and Don’t Act So Bad are a long way from Guess Who radio classics These Eyes, Laughing, No Time, and Share The Land. Clock On The Wall is the killer undisputed classic on this record. At the time, Neil Young made special note of this single for it’s dramatic Cummings’ vocals and heavily reverbed guitars. Believe Me is also an excellent piece of Kink’s style garage grunge with some interesting keyboard work. Cummings’ vocals come thru again with the Animals influenced Seven Long Years and the raunchy Pretty Things-like Don’t Act So Bad. Chad Allen really shines on the acoustic beat downer Guess I’ll Find A Place while the Bachman penned And She’s Mine has an appealing rural folk-rock Byrd’s feel. And while the album cannot hide it’s influences, It’s Time really is a classic piece of Canadian rock music.

This album holds as one of the best ever garage albums because vocally and instrumentally the Guess Who were way ahead of the pack. They released plenty of excellent garage/beat era 45’s as well, track done excellent singles such as It’s My Pride or If You Don’t Want Me for more proof of their early raw sound. This would be the last Guess Who album featuring Chad Allan. After this, Allan would go on to form Brave Belt with Randy Bachman, who would release two albums in the early 70’s. Brave Belt’s debut record is a fantastic mix of country, folk, pop rock, and psychedelia. Fans of country-rock or of this website are strongly urged to track this record down.

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“Clock On The Wall”

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Tim Hardin “1”

1

Here is one of America’s best songwriters. Just ask Colin Blunstone, Gandalf, Scott Walker, The Small Faces, or the hundreds of other well known artists to have recorded his tunes. He is best known for If I Were A Carpenter, though you probably have heard many of Tim’s songs without realizing it.

Tunes you’d probably know on 1? Let’s see, Reason to Believe has got to be the most popular, it’s a well known and beautiful song. Misty Roses you will recognize from Colin Blunstone’s One Year. Never Too Far and How Can We Hang On To A Dream both show up on Gandalf’s self-titled debut.

As for how Tim sings ’em, well, all due respect to his many coverers, and maybe Tim doesn’t own the definitive version for any of his songs, but you need to hear this record. It’s laid-back and incredibly sparse folk music with jazz drumming and delicate, stunning production. String sections, apparently added without his knowledge feature here and there, and fill some holes in this certainly understated recording. It’s satisfying to identify each instrument immediately as you listen, to have them all under control, but not to need another sound.

If you are looking for a compact disc, get Hang On To A Dream, The Verve Recordings, which has 1 and 2 as well as outtakes spread over 2 discs, a great deal (if you get it used).

mp3: Don’t Make Promises

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P.F. Sloan “Twelve More Times”

Twelve More Times

P.F. Sloan is one of America’s great artists. It’s truly a shame that his work is not as celebrated (or in print) as other pop figures from the 1960’s. From 1965 to 1967 few artists were as prolific as Sloan.

He released 2 great albums, numerous quality singles, an album under the Grass Roots name in 1966 and produced a plethora of outtakes which are currently unavailable on compact disc. Sloan also wrote numerous folk-pop hits for many popular acts of the day which include the Turtles, Barry McGuire and many others. One of the best songwriters of his generation, Sloan also had good vocals that were moody and just right for rock music.

The 1966 album, Twelve More Times was an electrified folk-rock album, dealing with more sophisticated subject matter as compared to his 1965 debut. From A Distance, Here’s Where You Belong, Upon A Painted Ocean and Lollipop Train sound like they could have been hit singles. Sloan calls upon a style that mixes 1966 Bob Dylan, Tambourine era Byrds, folk-rock era Beau Brummels, and the Leaves on some of their more garage oriented efforts. I Found A Girl, is completely acoustic and a lovely naive folk lullaby in which Sloan spreads the joys of finding a girl. The above mentioned Lollipop Train is more teenage heartbreak, primitive, but an astonishing treasure.

This was a time when so many rock musicians were making great music but it was not being noticed or hitting the air waves. Halloween Mary is a great Bob Dylan cop that has some excellent girl put-down lyrics and good hooky guitar riffs. Let Me Be is also killer, a slice of proto power pop finding the singer analyzing himself over some acoustic guitars and pounding drums.

This album has a lot of character and punk bite, something that many of those great folk-rock albums had. It’s a tragedy that Sloan’s first two albums are unavailable on compact disc. They are truly lost classics!

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“Halloween Mary”

Mouse and the Traps “The Fraternity Years”

Fraternity Years

Yet another Texas group, the great Mouse and the Traps existed throughout the mid to late 60’s, sadly never having a chance to release an album. They did record a bunch of singles though, some of which are under different names/alias’. This compilation covers most of their singles and some outtakes (contains 25 of the 30 or so songs they recorded).

Nearly all of these songs are good and well worth a listen. On single, they forged 3 unabashed classics: A Public Execution, Maid of Sugar, Maid of Spice and Sometimes You Just Can’t Win (a soulful why me rocker). Public Execution was a song that many radio listeners mistook for Bob Dylan’s next big single in 1966. This song as well as the excellent garage punk rocker Maid of Sugar, Maid of Spice has been anthologized on Nuggets. Public Execution, while a great song, is not the best on this superb compilation, sounding like a bubblegum garage version of Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone. The followup, Maid of Sugar, Maid of Spice is one of the greatest mid 60’s hard rockers with a great speaker shredding, mind frying guitar solo. This legendary performance showed the band could tear it up, they were strong musicians and Mouse was a good singer who speckled his songs with clever lyrics.

The album runs the gamut, showing the Traps to be a diverse unit that played love torn country-rock, psychedelia, sunshine pop, tex-mex, blues-rock, folk-rock and garage-rock (all effectively). Nobody Cares and I Am The One really catch the ear as melodic folk-rockers with a defiant edge and great outsider lyrics. Also, I Satisfy and Beg, Borrow and Steal are psychedelia with tons of fuzz, crazied vocals and imagination. They even released a nice baroque pop/psych-pop single under the Chris St. John name.

The Traps had personality in spades and it’s really strange how they did not succeed commercially/artistically. They ceased to exist by the early 70’s and by then the dream had faded.

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“Maid of Sugar, Maid of Spice”

The Kinks “Face To Face”

Face to Face

There are many reasons (many songs) why Ray Davies is my favorite songwriter. The main reason is best exemplified in Face To Face, not quite a concept album, but so on-the-line it ought to count.

Each song on Face To Face is its own little polished gem, a story or a feeling. You can really get lost in this album with its cast of characters. Face To Face is a miniature universe including some of the best songs the Kinks ever recorded.

The tunes aren’t about heavy things like relationships and love, or faith, or murder. They are about daily trifles, the things in life that we face so often: a phone call, a rainy day, a vacation, a house, or just lazing around on a sunny afternoon in the summertime. It’s got a great developed sound to it, with all the fuzz left over from their (superb) previous album, Kinks Kontroversy, but rounded out with some Mellotron and SFX. This album kicks off the Kinks’ “golden age.”

The bonus tracks are all excellent, as is the case for all of the wonderful Kinks reissues. I guarantee that if you give this album the proper chance, you will love it. 

Note: if you’ve ever listened to our podcast, you might recognize the storm fx sounds from Rainy Day In June, from this album.

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The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”

Pet Sounds

I’ll be honest with you here. Nobody is reading this web-log today. It doesn’t even really exist. I’m the only one who knows about it and I’m just, sort-of, trying it on. The only reason I’m presenting this, the most classic and essential of all great rock albums, is to test out the site and make it look like there’s something here.

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Please Buy Pet Sounds If You Don’t Already Have It