351) The Blue Rondos — “Baby I Go for You”
This Joe Meek* written and produced November ‘64 B-side is some friggin’ phenomenal freakbeat.** Roger Dopson’s liner notes to the Joe Meek Freakbeat comp rightly calls it “magnificent.” Owen Adams calls this one of Meek’s 10 landmark recordings (not including “Telstar”): “Boasting a singer with the same sublime hues as Roy Orbison, and a proto-punk stomp that . . . remains a cult hit on the Californian garage frat-party scene.” (https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2007/oct/17/blessedwasthemeek)
The Rondos’s guitarist Roger Hall recalls that “Joe [Meek] was convinced [that the single would] be a hit . . . but it never quite took off.” (liner notes to the Joe Meek Freakbeat comp). Further:
19th Aug 2020
|According to Paul R. Moy in ‘Thunderbolt’, The Joe Meek Society Magazine, #89, the July 2020 edition, only around 3000 copies of this disc were produced in 2 pressings, the first was for 1000. Sales were disappointing due to the fact that Pye Records refused to deal with Radio Caroline as they were an illegal pirate station at the time and where lots of potential listeners had moved to from Radio Luxembourg.|
The Blue Rondos’s bassist Bill-Pitt Jones informs us that:
[The song was] written by Joe [Meek] under an alias. . . . We considered the song an absolute joke and had no time for it ..BUT.. you did NOT upset Joe Meek. SO… We CAMPED IT UP! We did every thing we could think of to make a ‘Mum wouldn’t like it’ Rock’n’Roll cliche. Hence the booming Bass and chaotic guitar solo. Joe LOVED it. Thirty years later during reunion gigs we were amazed to learn that – because of more internet misinformation – younger people believed The Blue Rondos were part of the Punk movement and the record featured prominently in the Californian Punk revival scene of the 1990s because of that bootleg C.D.https://barnsburyboys.weebly.com/baby-i-go-for-you—the-blue-rondos.html
Nice. Now, I feel the need to address one of the most enduring bits of fake news/misinformation circulating on the internet — one of “R&R’s most irksome myths” (N.E. Fulcanwright’s liner notes to the Freakbeat Freakout comp). JIMMY PAGE DID NOT PLAY THE CRAZY-COOL GUITAR PART!!! THE RONDOS’S ROGER HALL DID! I’d say that we need a truth and reconciliation commission, but the guilty party has fessed up:
3rd Dec 2021
|@A40FARINA – Funny that we should bump into each other again. And this time I have a confession to make; some 40 years after the Blue Rondos’ “Baby I Go For You” was included on the “James Patrick Page Session Man” bootleg, it’s time to come clean & admit that it was partly my fault, though unintentionally so, that it did. Having written an article on Page’s session work in the first issue of my mag Rock & Beat Tranquillizer in ’76, I followed this up with an issue devoted to Joe Meek in ’77, where I had a short piece on the Blue Rondos, stating that Page played the gtr solo on “Baby…”|
With most subscribers being located in the US, this eventually resulted in ALL the sessions I mentioned, including two I said I wasn’t sure about – the Zephyrs & the Redcaps (lucky for me, as it turned out Jimmy wasn’t on either) – ending up on the “Session Man” LP. I do want to make it clear that although I found out who the culprit behind the damn thing was, I had nothing whatsoever to do with its compilation/release (wouldn’t have minded getting a fat cheque from the proceeds, though, as it must’ve sold by the buckets to scores of Led Zep fans!)
It was with mixed feelings that I read guitarist Roger Hall’s comments on the Blue Rondos’ career/recordings in the leaflet to the “Joe Meek The Pye Years Volume 2” CD on Sequel (’93).
He was understandably upset about reading/being told that one J Page played the gtr solo on “Baby…”, when in fact he did. I can only offer my sincere apologies for my part in the mix-up, but need also explain that in the mid-70’s info on Page’s & Meek’s recording activities were very scarce to come by. For instance, the first-ever record compiling a set of Meek recordings was the “The Joe Meek Story” on Decca from ’77.
So why did I think it was Page on “Baby…”? Well, I knew he’d done sessions for Joe, & to be frank it was the tone/aggression of the solo, that reminded me of some of his wilder efforts, like the solo on Wayne Gibson’s “Come On Let’s Go” (mentioned in my R&BT piece). Little did I know that Meek had “doctored” the gtr solo by making Roger record it 3 times, as he explains in the CD notes, & then put the takes together into one mind-boggling solo. If I’m to burn in hell for my mistake for all eternity (+ some more), so be it, but I wonder what Hall made of the fact that he wasn’t even credited with his full name – only identified as Roger – on the CD?
Now, this cheeky quip from the Rondos is so utterly classic: “In those days [Page] simply wasn’t yet up to the high standards of Roger Hall . . . .” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha . . . .
7th Mar 2016
|Hi This is Billy Blue Rondo – Welcome to our Website|
for the meantime we would just like to state, quite clearly, that JIMMY PAGE never EVER
performed on any recording credited to The Blue Rondos. In those days he simply wasn’t yet up to the high standards of Roger Hall and Micky Stubbs.
Watch the ‘SHOWCASE — Live Preformance’ Video Clips —- See (hear) what I mean?
TARRY A WHILE AND LISTEN TO MICKY STUBBS SINGING
‘TOMORROW IN THE MORNING’
Finally, N.E. Fulcanwright provides an equally cheeky and hilarious explanation for why the term “freakbeat’ had to be invented: you can’t call 60’s UK teenage punk rock “garage rock” because the Brits’s garages totally sucked!!! —
[T]hink about it — back in the 60’s the average Yank’s garage was double-sized and brick-built, comfortably housing a Chevy, a Harley-Davidson, a surfboard and a deep-freeze, leaving plenty of room for a R&R band to rehearse: its UK counterpart . . . was an infinitely smaller, rickety, prefabricated affair, invariably housing a clapped-out old Austin A35 van, a moped, an ironing board and a tin larder, with barely enough space left for grandad’s old piano-accordion.) No, 60’s UK Beat Groups had tended to rehearse in pubs’ backrooms and either church or village halls, rather than garages — but somehow, neither “Pubrock” nor “Churchbeat” really fitted the bill . . . The term “Freakbeat ” was in fact coined in the early 80’s by Phil Smee . . . during a memorable, alcoholically-fuelled session with his erstwhile henchman Brian Hogg, as the pair attempted to define a “new” category under which they could file some of their favorite 60’s UK R&B singles. . . . The description perfectly fits the bill, accurately defining a sound and style too wild to be categorised simply as “White R&B”, and yet rather early — not to mention far too wigged-out — to qualify as “Psychedelic”.liner notes to the Freakbeat Freakout comp.
“Go on late night walk, dark side of town. Keep to myself most of the time. No one to put me down. But I’ve had it. Baby, I go for you. Got no time for the square guys. Gimme leather and a hot rod too. I like to feel the wind in my hair. Speed, I love it too. But I’ve had it. Baby, I go for you. Bring me down to the ground. Build me up to the sky. Poke me until I giggle. I’m gonna love her ’til the day I die. Baby, I go for you.”
* Who was Joe Meek? Little Steven says “Who was the craziest record producer of all time? Joe Meek was his name . . . .” (https://www.undergroundgarage.com/shows-699-690/show-693-joe-meek). See the movie (yes, there was a movie).
** I had thought that freakbeat emerged from the primordial ooze in ’66.