Monday, May 30, 2011

Chris, Chris & Lee (1970)

This nice and gentle folk album with some christian vibes was self released by Chris Dunn, Chris Smith and Lee Paul. The instrumentation is exclusively accoustic, no percussion, just guitar, bass and at times banjo and piano. Side 1 contains original material with the strong opener followed by "Thank You", an upbeat number with successful vocal harmonies. The other highlight is the delicate "Wish You Were Here" that nearly touches the Simon & Garfunkel territory (Thankfully they get a grip on themselves and instead of a corny result it turned out as a laid-back melancholic number). The flip side consists throughout of covers. Noteworthy is their version of CSN's "Helplessly Hoping" and Tim Hardin's "If I Were A Carpenter". I can't think what came over these guys for doing "This Guy's In Love With You" but this is one of the few lowpoints. On balance not a record to freak you out but something special for a pleasant evening.

- Flying Bird
- Thank You
- The Pink Song
- Wish You Were Here
- Once
- Helplessly Hoping
- Lalena
- If I Were A Carpenter
- California Dreamin'
- This Guy's In Love With You
- Samson

Chris Dunn
Chris Smith
Lee Paul
[Reid Lancaster (bs)]

Band origin:

1. Chris, Chris & Lee (CC & L Records) 1970

Get it here (Artwork included / vinyl rip)

Listen to Thank You

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mike & The Ravens - Nevermore (1958-2004)

Anytime you get a chance to tap into someone else's maniacal collection of anything - pinball machines, barbwire samples or, in this case, original garage-rock music, you're in for a treat. This 2-CD set (Bacchus Archives BA 11102 / 2005) chronicles the recordings of Michael Brassard and Stephen Blodgett as they worked their way through a number of East Coast '60 and '70s rock bands. The set opens with Brassard's 1958 debut on WDEV radio, playing and whistling his acoustic original "Rovin' and then proceeds through a full disc of early-60s frat-stompers, garage rock, doo-wop rooted ballads, surf-tinged guitar, and oddball studio freak-outs, all punctuated by bits of contemporaneous radio continuity. Unlike many garage rock comps, this isn't the sound of '65, it's the sound of '62. The British Invasion had yet to happen, and some of the country's rawest music was emanating from corners like Vermont. Michael Brassard, both before and with the Ravens, was apparently quite a sponge for musical styles, equally at home with twangy guitar rockers as with talking folk-blues. Using Plattsburgh, New York's Rollerland as a studio (where The Ravens waxed the skatetastic "Moonlight Couples Only"), Brassard and friends had the freedom to try just about anything that came to mind. The Ravens were a solid garage rock band in the Pacific Northwest vein, and Brassard and Blodgett wrote many catchy original songs. The second disc in this set moves from the garages of 1962 to the trippy sunshine pop of 1967. It's difficult to connect the two discs, as the second set's harmonies, string orchestrations, and psychedelic lyrics (e.g, "I Could Hear the Grass Growing") are more akin to the works of Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher than The Kingsmen styled work of Mike & The Ravens. Variously credited to Fire & Brimstone, The Camel's Hump, The Front Burner and others, the common thread is again Michael Brassard and his former Raven bandmate Stephen Blodgett, and like their earlier garage rock, they wrote many memorable original tunes. A more concise sampling of The Ravens finished garage rock sides can be found on Bacchus' companion single-disc volume, "Heart So Cold: The North Country '60s Scene." This 2-CD collection provides a view of the underlying studio catalog from which the commercially released sides were sprung. The evolution of Brassard and Blodgett, and their second wind of '60s psychedelia is all worth hearing. Disc two finishes out with pop, folk and country sides waxed from the '70s through 2004, showing the flame still burning. Sound quality on disc 1 is highly variable; disc 2 is more consistent mid-to-hi-fi. Both discs include generous helpings of previously unreleased works.
(review by Red Tunic Troll)

You can also check their website for further information.

- Rovin' • by Mike Brassard (1958)
- Dum Duvey • by Mike & The Throbs (1962)
- Git Home • by Mike & The Throbs (1962)
- Two-Ton Jenny • by Mike & The Throbs (1962)
- Mr. Heartbreak
- I've Taken All I Can
- Pete's Turkish Delight • by Peter Young & Brian Lyford
- Ballad of a Square • by Mike Brassard (1962)
- (Everybody's Goin' To) Rollerland
- Moonlight Couples Only
- No Man's Land
- Baby, Please Don't Leave Me • alternate take
- Biggest Fool Around
- One of These Days
- Like a Fire
- Can't You Feel the Pain • by The Ravens
- Riptide • by The Ravens
- I'll Get It from You • by The Ravens
- Goodbye to Mary Jane
- Living in a Dream • alternate take
- Oobie Doobie Do (Shake That Thing)

- Grey Eyes Watching • by Stephen Sargent & The Pride
- Underground • by Fire & Brimstone (1967)
- I Could Hear the Grass Growin' • by Fire & Brimstone
- Look • by The Camel's Hump (1969)
- Gotta Talk to You, Baby • by The Camel's Hump (1969)
- Birmingham • by The Camel's Hump (1969)
- Greyhound Bus • by Stephen Blodgett (1968)
- Tomorrow • by Mike Brassard & Bo Blodgett (1968)
- Lights of San Francisco • by The Front Burner (1971)
- Eldorado • by The Front Burner (1971)
- Gentle Wind • by Texas Drive (1973)
- Georgia Plains • by Texas Drive (1973)
- Truly (Christ's Lament) • by Texas Drive (1973)
- Lady • by Mike Brassard (1982)
- No More Beatle Songs • by Stephen Blodgett (1998)
- Motorboatin' • by Stephen Blodgett (1998)
- Adorable Gene • by Stephen Blodgett (1998)
- Motivatin' Blues • by Mike Brassard (2004)
- No Love to Give You
- Durham
- Teen Angel • by Stephen Blodgett & Bill Kinzie (1977)

Personnel [Mike & The Ravens]:
Mike Brassard (lead vcls) [ABC]
John "Bo" Blodgett (lead gtr) [AB]
Stephen Blodgett (rhythm gtr, vcls) [AB]
Eddie Jones (bs) [A]
Peter Young (drms) [AB]
Brian Lyford (bs) [B]
Bobby Lavigne (lead gtr) [C]
Jim Ricker (bs) [C]
Marc Chapman (drms) [C]

Band origin:
Northfield (Vermont/US)

1. Mr. Heartbreak/I've Taken All I Can (Empire E-1) 1962
2. Baby, Please Don't Leave Me/Biggest Fool Around
   (Empire E-2) 1962
3. Goodbye To Mary Jane/Living In A Dream
   (Empire E-3) 1963

Personnel incl. [Stephen Sargent & The Pride]:
Stephen Blodgett (gtr, vcls)
Chris Kiley (vcls)

Band origin:
Burlington (Vermont/US)

1. Grey Eyes Watching/Nobody's Child
   (Compass CO-7001) 1967

Personnel incl. [Fire & Brimstone]:
Mike Brassard (vcls)
Stephen Blodgett (gtr)

Band origin:
New York City (New York/US)

1. Underground/I Could Hear The Grass Growin'
   (Decca 32297) 1967

Get it here (Artwork included)

Listen to Mike & The Ravens: I've Taken All I Can

Listen to Fire & Brimstone: Underground

Thursday, May 19, 2011

V.A. - A History Of Garage & Frat Bands In Memphis Vol. 2

So, how was the garage and frat scene during the 60s in the Birthplace of Rock & Roll? It often seems that after the original wave of rockers, every white boy over there chose either the country path or joined the Stax/Muscle Shoals R&B/soul family. Though a few punk songs from that area had appeared here and there, the first volume of this series took the first step to helping us discover the Memphis British-Invasion-fed youngsters from the 60s (along with the companion book that came out around the same time). This second CD mixes the garage vibe and the local influences. It opens with what is probably the most beloved Memphis 60s punk side, the Breakers' "Don't Send Me No Flowers," a true killer fuzz version of this song, also recorded by the What-Knots and the Gentrys among others. The other ace punker included is Los Angeles Smog Division's "Blue Green", an unissued track on a heavier trip à la Steppenwolf, with a couple of things stolen from the Pretties' "LSD." The core of this CD is made of blue-eyed-R&B, from the Diddley beat of the Ole Miss Downbeats (like the Drifters jamming with the Strangeloves) to the frat sound of Lawson & Four More (a band better known for the acid punker "Halfway Down the Stairs") or nice ballads like Ricky & the Rainbows' "Goin' Out Of My Mind" and the Merits' "Please, Please Little Girl" (with its cool moody organ). There are not many truly amazing tracks, but no stinkers either. My faves among the remaining ones are the Scepters' "Little Girls Were Made To Love" - obviously inspired by the Syndicate Of Sound's hit, with the same frat meets folk rock vibe - the Goodees' "Condition Red" which, though being from a Southern state, is pure Northern Soul in a cool Shangri-Las drama-mode, and the Honey Jug's great late 60s pop ballad "Warm City Baby." It's a shorter disc than the usual compilations issued these days, but a good selection and sound quality are what matters in the end.
(review by Laurent Bigot, Ugly Things magazine).

This was requested a while ago and I've got the original rip from the Garden of Delights blog. Sadly the link is down there but I think kudos go to the blog's owner Freaky Lady. This second volume was released in 2002 (Shangri-La Projects 035) and you will find the first volume on the Garage Punk 66 site.

1. Breakers - Don't Send Me No Flowers (I Ain't Dead Yet)
taken from the single
Don't Send Me No Flowers (I Ain't Dead Yet)/Love Of My Life (Amy 938) 1966
Personnel incl.: Gary Johns (vcls), Mike Ladd (gtr), Stu Lewis (gtr), Dick Lewis (gtr), Tom Keckler (bs), Cully Powell (keyb'ds), Eddie Tatum (drms).
2. Ole Miss Downbeats - Geraldine
taken from the single Geraldine/Mr. Crump (Ardent 103) 1963
Line-up: Bobby Jones (vcls), Billy Wayne Herbert (gtr), Tommy Gray (bs), Buddy Flowers (piano), Tommy Christopher (sax), Jim Slocum (sax), Leon Deloach (trumpet), Ed Forsythe (drms).
3. Shades - Shady Lady
taken from the single Shady Lady/Moonlight Sonata (Ardent 104) 1963
Line-up: Chris Hull (gtr), Craig Benson (gtr), Mike Alexander (bs), Philip Stewart (vcls, piano), Lee Wiener (drms).
4. Percussions - Your Love
taken from the single Your Love/Misery And Pain (Block 201) 1966
Line-up: Sherrill Williams (gtr, vcls), Gayle Patterson (bs, vcls), Maggie Stout (keyb'ds), Don Reed (sax), Joe Stout (drms).
5. Merits - Please, Please Little Girl
taken from the single
Arabian Jerk/Please, Please Little Girl (Bandstand USA 1002) 1964
Line-up: Steve Little (vcls), Bill Way (vcls), Danny Clary (gtr), Johnny Reynolds (bs), Johnny Mullins (keyb'ds), John Tillman (drms).
6. Scepters - Little Girls Were Made To Love
taken from the single
Little Girls Were Made To Love/Love You Baby All The Time
(MOC 661) 1965

Line-up: Finley Brown (vcls), Bret Basselle (vcls), Mickey Dunlap (vcls), Norman Brown (lead gtr), John Wulff (gtr), Fred Shaeffer (bs), Greg Green (organ), Charles Jolley (drms).
7. Chasers - I Need Your Loving
taken from the single
I Need Your Lovin'/Since You Left Me (Style 1931) 1965
Line-up: Lonnie Davidson (lead gtr), Mike Maffel (bs), Steve Cowan (sax, vcls), Jerry Houston (drms).
8. Ponees - Move It, Groove It
taken from the single
Move It, Groove It/Here's The Place (Scion 711) 1966
Line-up: Chuck Gordon (vcls), Dick Lewis (gtr), Fred Beaty (bs), Eugene Adams (organ), Ricky Leach (drms).
9. Tommy Burk & Noe Counts - Stormy Weather (Part 1)
taken from the single
Stormy Weather [Part 1]/Stormy Weather [Part 2]
(Barbarian BARB-0110) 1975

Line-up: John Grear (vcls), Dan Morelock (vcls), Steve O'Keefe (vcls), Tommy Burk (lead vcls, lead gtr), Wayne Thompson (gtr), Mike Stoker (bs), Thomas Boggs (drms).
10. Ricky & The Rainbows - Going Out Of My Mind
taken from the single
Going Out Of My Mind/Come Back To Me (Arbet 1012) 1966
Line-up: Gary Shipley (lead vcls), Steve Edmaiston (back vcls), Dan Strahl (rhythm gtr), Bill Stancil (gtr), Tim Pappas (bs), Mike Sheffield (piano), Ricky Reeves (drms).
11. Lawson & Four More - Back For More
taken from the single
If You Want Me You Can Find Me/Back For More (Ardent 105) 1966
Line-up: Joe Lee (lead gtr), Bob Lawson (gtr, vcls), Joe Gaston (bs), Terry Manning (keyb'ds), Bill Donati (drms).
12. Goodees - Condition Red
taken from the single
Condition Red/Didn't Know Love Was So Good (Hip 8005) 1968
Line-up: Sandra Jackson (vcls), Judy Williams (vcls), Kay Evans (vcls).
13. Memphis Nomads - I Wanna Be
taken from the single
I Wanna Be/Don't Pass Your Judgement (Stax 243) 1968
Line-up: Finlay Brown (vcls), Steve Weaver (gtr), Bill Truitt (gtr), Bill Hall (bs), Jerry Murley (keyb'ds), Roy Yeager (drms).
14. Village Sound - Sally's Got A Good Thing
taken from the single
Sally's Got A Good Thing/The La La Song (Hipe 711 + Hip 8003) 1968
Line-up: Pat Taylor (vcls), Taft Lassiter (vcls), Danny Thompson (gtr), Dan Reding (bs), Greg Reding (organ, vcls), Bobby Dodds (drms).
15. Honey Jug - Warm City Baby
taken from the single
Warm City Baby/Honey Say So (HIP H-106) 1967
Line-up: Ron Jordan (vcls), Joe Lee (gtr), Joe Gaston (bs), Jim Dickinson (keyb'ds), Bill Donati (drms).
16. Los Angeles Smog Division - Blue Green
[unreleased / 1968]
Line-up: Melvin Lewis (vcls), Robert Johnson (lead gtr), Don Thornton (bs), Greg Huested (keyb'ds), John Stetz (hrmnca), Kenny Pruitt (drms).

— All bands were from Memphis/Tennessee —

Get it here

Listen to Ole Miss Downbeats - Geraldine

Listen to Scepters - Little Girls Were Made To Love

Friday, May 13, 2011

Antorcha (1970-76)

After the split of Las Antorchas Victor Motta Aviles and band mate Omar Cortes Gaviño teamed up with Victor's brother Guillermo and continued as Antorcha. They played a sort of Acid-Rock but developed a style of their own. Actually not my kind of music but I like their anarchistic attitude and they receive extra points for the demented sound on few of their tracks. After a handful of E.P.'s they finally released an album in 1976. Shortly after they called it quits and 30 years later VAM Records (VAM 001-CD / 2006) put out a CD with all the tracks from their 45's plus "Mira" from their cassette-only release from 1976.

- Canción No. 1
- Nada
- Amiga
- En El Jardín Del Edén
- Grass
- Going Down
- La Tierra
- Crisalida
- Sodomáquina
- Inconclusa
- Mira
- Bracero
- Intento No. 2
- Quiero Vivir

Omar Cortes Gaviño (bs, vcls) [ABC]
Victor Manuel Motta Aviles
(keyb'ds, rhythm gtr, vcls) [ABC]
Guillermo Motta Aviles (keyb'ds, lead gtr, vcls) [ABC]
Mario Salazar Hernández (organ, vcls) [B]
Antonio Salcedo (drms, vcls) [C]

Band origin:
Mexico City (Mexico)

1. Anarquismo (Ediciones Antorcha ) 1976

1. (C) La Tierra/Crisalida (EPA-03) 1972
2. (C) Sodomáquina/Inconclusa (EPA-04) 1974

1. (A) Canción No. 1/Nada/Amiga (GP-074) 1970
2. (B) Grass/Going Down/En El Jardín Del Edén
   (EP-OC-01) 1971
3. (C) Bracero/Intento No. 2/Quiero Vivir (EPA-05) 1974

Get it here (Artwork included)

Listen to Canción No. 1

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Las Antorchas (1966-68)

I've picked up the latest proposal from the comments section and continue with new posts. The older files will be restored from time to time (there are still more than 200 left).

Las Antorchas were formed by five college students and originated out of Mexico City. They released only one E.P. on Orfeon but had enough material for a longplayer. They split around 68/69 but after a line-up change they continued simply named as Antorcha. Under that moniker they recorded five singles and an album, released 1976. VAM Records collects all their known material as Las Antorchas on one CD (VAM/Orfeon Video Vox CMS-205« / 2006). The organ is sometimes horribly off-key and the vocals don't make a big impression. The worst track is their cover of "Hello, Goodbye" (Hola Adios), one of the few Fab Four songs I rather dislike. However they have a few good cover versions and strangely enough this collection works as a whole. Not to forget the excellent "Dime", a really great acid-punk track but not representative for their sound. Conclusion: they were not as good as Los Ovnis/Apocalipsis etc. but better than Tijuana Five or Los Belmonts (if that helps in any way). The CD comes with liners and VAM also released their subsequent material as Antorcha, but more about them in my next post.

- La Antorcha
- Opus 14 Interior 12
- Tu Me Enseñaste
- Dime
- Tu Me Enseñaste (instrumental)
- Shake
- Un Poquito Más
- Confesion
- No Espero Ya Por Ti
- Substitute
- Anoche Fue
- Nunca Te Amado Mas
- No Lo Hagas
- Sabia
- Hola Adios
- El Soldado
- Canta Conmigo
- Dime (instrumental)

Jorge Gonzalez (lead gtr, vcls)
Fernando Mercado (gtr, vcls)
Omar Cortes Gaviño (bs, vcls)
Victor Manuel Motta Aviles (keyb'ds, rhythm gtr, vcls)
Bernardo Minerva (drms, lead vcls)

Band origin:
Mexico City (Mexico)

1. Un Poquito Más/No Lo Hagas/Anoche Fue/Shake
   (Orfeon EP-734) 1967

Get it here (Artwork included)

Listen to Dime