Knights Bridge: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 7, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

575) Knights Bridge — “Make Me Some Love”

B-side of only single (‘68) by the Odessa, Texas, band — not the Knights Bridge Quintet from Waco, Texas! (http://ontheroadsouth.blogspot.com/2011/06/knights-bridge-quintet.html) This is AP garage rock — these high schoolers should have gotten college credit!

Bolt 24 Hot Sounds calls the song a “[m]ighty psych-ish Texas classic [by s]tudents of Permian High School and incredibl[y] competent for a bunch of 16-17 yrs olds.” (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HK1u-GpGjI0) DJ Big Leg says “those great tones & feedback with great vocal make this song a true gem”, (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VxaOPAku-6o) and Thomas Smith exclaims “[t]he fuzz on this one shook the rafters” (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HK1u-GpGjI0and) and “[m]ake me some FUZZZZZ Groovy record”! (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=F62oTtfeOZc). Lisa Prest says “freaking spectacular!. (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HK1u-GpGjI0). Though Christian Rouse does chime in “Make me some love”? They make love sound like it’s a sandwich.” (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VxaOPAku-6o)

Drummer Ted Franklin recalls that:

We cut the record in February of 1968. We wrote Make Me Some Love the night before in the motel, we needed a b side. Turned out to be the most popular of the two, I guess. . . . We had a car wreck on the way back from the studio, tore up my drums. We were all Jr’s that yr.It was a great trip.

http://detailedtwang.blogspot.com/2007/07/knights-bridge-both-sides-now.html

Man, this is a rare 45. Look at these prices!

46cat.com:

“The way you hold me. The way you touch me. Things you show me mean so much to me. Make me some love. Make me some love. Oh, make me some love. Turn me on girl in the midnight hour. I am stronger from your power. Make me some love. Make me some love. Oh, make me some love. Oh baby, make me some love. Make me some love, oh you’re the maker. Make me some love and I’m the taker. Make me some love. Oh, make me some love. [The way I met you, I knew I?] was going to get you. Make me some love. . . .”

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Barbara Keith: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 6, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

574) Barbara Keith — “Fisherman King”

From the acclaimed songwriter’s first album (and a ’69 A-side). Barbara weighs the merits of being a fisherman’s wife vs. being a king’s wife. Enchanting rock, enchanting voice, what a siren song. It was immediately covered by a Dutch singer who later became a radio/TV celebrity in the Netherlands, married MTV VJ Adam Curry (neither a fisherman nor a king) and posed for Playboy at age 60!

Dutch Wikipedia:

Fisherman king is a psychedelic pop number from the American . . . Barbara Keith; she wrote it herself and released it on a single in 1969 . . . .  [T]he same year [also saw the song releases] in a psychedelic rock version different from Patricia Paay.  At the time, she still performed under her first name. . . . 
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisherman_king

David Jeffries:

A singer/guitarist and folk-influenced songwriter, Barbara Keith’s curious career began when she was discovered at Greenwich Village’s famous Café Wha?. Her first appearance on record was in 1968, with her background vocals and one of her songs appearing on the self-titled debut from Kangeroo. Verve Records released the first of two self-titled albums in 1969. Some critics fell in love with the album but as far as sales the album went nowhere. Her second self-titled album — released by Reprise in 1972 — coupled Keith with producer Doug Tibbles. Keith and Tibbles married and soon became unhappy with the music industry [and] decid[ed] to focus on family and develop their art with a major-label influence. . . . Once again, the [second] album didn’t achieve much as far as sales, but Keith’s songwriting skills were being noticed throughout the record industry. Barbra Streisand, Lowell George, Tanya Tucker, Delaney & Bonnie, the Dillards, and many others covered songs from the album . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/barbara-keith-mn0000787735/biography

“I wish you were a fisherman. I wish you were a king. A fisherman’s wife has a good life. She keeps the cabin clean. And there is nothing I’d rather do than to love you. Queen is the harbor, she is the chain that lets him out to sea and brings him back again. She is the chambermaid dusting the crown of the man who works in the sun ’till its down. And there is nothing I’d rather do than to love you. I wish you were a fisherman. I wish you were a king. A king’s wife has a good life, she never does a thing. And there is nothing I’d rather do than to love you. . . .”

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Here is Dutch singer, model & radio host Patricia Paay. She recorded the song with the backing of Brainbox:

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Donny Hathaway: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 5, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

573) Donny Hathaway — “Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)”

“Voices”, the incredible opening track from Donny’s incredible ‘70 debut album Everything is Everything, is not funk, but it is so, so funky!

Brandon Ousley writes that:

Before releasing his debut album in the summer of 1970, [Donny] was known for his session work on records from the likes of June Conquest, Curtis Mayfield, and Phil Upchurch. He was also a contributing arranger and songwriter for several artists, most notably for his friend and future duet partner, Roberta Flack. While nurturing his talents on Curtis Mayfield’s label, Curtom Records in Chicago, Hathaway was spotted for Atco Records . . . by producer and saxophonist King Curtis. He eventually signed to the label in 1969 and released his first notable single, “The Ghetto Pt. 1[]” . . . . Righteous and undeniably visionary, Everything Is Everything was the mighty culmination of everything Chicago’s ambitious soul master sought to accomplish in his early career. His reach was astonishingly rich, excursing and improvising Black music’s roots in jazz, blues, funk, and gospel. His insight and emotion evoked pure intensity, sadness, and truth in every wail, cry, and plead he vocalized. The sweat-drenched musicality and streetwise aura that percolated through the album[] . . . placed his unique artistry in total perspective. . . . [T]he entire album is a soulful paradise . . . .

https://albumism.com/lists1/100-most-dynamic-debut-albums-ever-made-donny-hathaway-everything-is-everything

Steve Huey gives some sense of Donny’s life:

Donny Hathaway was one of the brightest new voices in soul music at the dawn of the ’70s, possessed of a smooth, gospel-inflected romantic croon that was also at home on fiery protest material. Hathaway achieved his greatest commercial success as Roberta Flack’s duet partner of choice, but sadly he’s equally remembered for the tragic circumstances of his death — an apparent suicide at age 33. Hathaway . . . began singing in church with his grandmother at the scant age of three. He began playing piano at a young age, and by high school, he . . . [won] a full-ride fine arts scholarship to Howard University . . . . [He] wound up leaving . . . after three years to pursue job opportunities he was already being offered in the record industry. Hathaway first worked . . . as a producer, arranger, songwriter, and session pianist/keyboardist. He supported the likes of Aretha Franklin, Jerry Butler, and the Staple Singers . . . and joined the Mayfield Singers, a studio backing group that supported Curtis Mayfield’s Impressions. Hathaway soon became a house producer at Mayfield’s Curtom label . . . . [H]e signed with Atco as a solo artist, and released his debut single, the inner-city lament “The Ghetto, Pt. 1,” toward the end of the year. While it failed to reach the Top 20 on the R&B charts . . . . [it] set the stage for Hathaway’s acclaimed debut LP . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/donny-hathaway-mn0000182360

John Bush enthuses about Everything Is Everything:

[W]ith this debut LP Donny Hathaway revealed yet another facet of his genius — his smoky, pleading voice, one of the best to ever grace a soul record. Everything Is Everything sounded like nothing before it, based in smooth uptown soul but boasting a set of excellent, open-ended arrangements gained from Hathaway’s background in classical and gospel music. . . . Hathaway wrote and recorded during 1969 and 1970 with friends including drummer Ric Powell and guitarist Phil Upchurch, both of whom lent a grooving feel to the album that Hathaway may not have been able to summon on his own (check out Upchurch’s unforgettable bassline on the opener, “Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)”). All of the musical brilliance on display, though, is merely the framework for Hathaway’s rich, emotive voice, testifying to the power of love and religion with few, if any, concessions to pop music. . . . Donny Hathaway’s debut introduced a brilliant talent into the world of soul . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/album/everything-is-everything-mw0000654662

I include a live version from Donny’s ‘72 live album, about which John Bush writes:

Donny Hathaway’s 1972 Live album is one of the most glorious of his career, an uncomplicated, energetic set with a heavy focus on audience response as well as the potent jazz chops of his group. The results of shows recorded at the Troubadour in Hollywood and the Bitter End in New York . . . . “Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)” is an[] epic (14-minute) jam, with plenty of room for solos and some of the most sizzling bass work ever heard on record by Willie Weeks. . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/album/live-mw0000460498

“Let’s get down now. [chorus: “I hear voices. I see people. I hear voices of many people.”] Oh, yeah. [chorus: “I hear voices. I see people. I hear voices of many people.”] Saying everything is everything, yeah, oh, yeah. [chorus: “I hear voices, I see people. I hear voices of many people.”] Oh, yeah. [chorus: “I hear voices. I see people. I hear voices of many people.”] Yeah, they’re saying everything is everything. [chorus: “Oh yeah, shut up. “] Let me do my do now. [chorus: “Everything is everything. Everything is everything.”] Yeah. [chorus: “Everything is everything. Everything is everything.”] Yes, it is. [chorus: “Everything is everything.”] Yes, it is. [chorus: “Everything is everything.”] You gotta believe it now. [chorus: “Everything is everything.”] Don’t you know it now. [chorus: “I say everything is everything.”] Oh, yeah. [chorus: “Everything is everything. Everything is everything. Everything is everything. Everything is everything.”]

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Live in ‘72:

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The Pretty Things: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 4, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

572) The Pretty Things — “Talkin’ About the Good Times”

You’ve heard of power pop — well, this is power psych. The ’68 A-side by the ugliest pretty things you’ve ever seen is magnificent (see #82, 94, 153, 251). Oh, and listen closely at the one minute and one second mark — I could swear I hear Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”! Couldn’t be — Zep never stole a thing!

David Wells muses that:

Palpably influenced by the slow motion, otherworldy ambience of Strawberry Fields Forever, the magnificent Talkin’ About the Good Times was . . . laden with hallucinatory sitar and Mellotron fills, staggering guitar lines and some soaring group harmonies on what was an almost transcendental chorus. . . . [Yet] it became the fourth Pretties single on the bounce not to reach the British Top Fifty.

Record Collector: 100 Greatest Psychedelic Records: High Times and Strange Tales from Rock’s Most Mind-Blowing Era

Tim Sendra says the song “fully embrace[s] the sonic possibilities of psychedelia without sacrificing any of the band’s aggressiveness or ability to write big hooks.” (https://www.allmusic.com/album/come-see-me-the-very-best-of-the-pretty-things-mw0000697628) And Lenny Helsing adds that:

Chosen as a single in spring ’68, the life-affirming ‘Talkin’ About The Good Times’ and ‘Walking Through My Dreams’ . . . are two of the most psychedelic creations to ever bear The Pretty Things’ name. The essence of the genre is captured in a perfect blend of organic and studio-devised dexterity, while an ever-widening range of sounds accompany the vicariously opulent vocal harmonies. . . .

https://www.shindig-magazine.com/?p=3781

The Pretty Things need no introduction, but here is one anyway by Stephen Thomas Erlewine:

Musically, the Pretty Things were one of the toughest and most celebrated artists to rise from the Beat/British Invasion era, and among the very best British R&B bands of the ’60s. Commercially, they were often seen as also-rans, more talked about than listened to, especially outside Great Britain, since many of their most important albums were never released elsewhere until decades after the fact. Their cult was drawn to either their vicious early records, where they sometimes seemed like a meaner version of the Rolling Stones or or to their 1968 psychedelic touchstone S.F. Sorrow. . . . Taking their name from a Bo Diddley song, the Pretty Things were intentionally ugly: their sound was brutish, their hair longer than any of their contemporaries, their look unkempt. Their first two singles, “Rosalyn” and “Don’t Bring Me Down,” charted in 1964, and their eponymous debut LP made the U.K. Top Ten a year later, but that turned out to be the peak of their commercial success. The Pretty Things may not have shown up on the charts, but their cult proved to be influential: it’s been said S.F. Sorrow inspired Pete Townshend to write Tommy . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-pretty-things-mn0000489676/biography

And Lenny Helsing:

For a few months in the late ’60s, the Pretty Things ditched their successful R&B template and embraced the blooming influences of psychedelia. So wholeheartedly in fact, that they ended up pioneering a new sound and redefining British rock forever. . . . They were arguably Britain’s most dangerous and uncompromising rhythm ’n’ blues group, but The Pretty Things also helped instigate the transformation into new, uncharted musical territory. With their mainstream profile in slow decline, strong foundations and a survivor’s instinct made them hunger for change. . . .

https://www.shindig-magazine.com/?p=3781

“Talking about the good times. Talking about the good. Talking about the good times. Talking about the good. She has sun in her face. Her lips kiss the sun, caress the sun. Fields of light we found the place. She had sun in her eyes. The clouds crossed the sun. Without the sun, there’s evening shadows in her eyes. Talking about the good times. Talking about the good. Talking about the good times. Talking about the good. She had braided her hair. The grass jumped through the rain reach to the rain, tears of mystic rain in the air. She had tears in her eyes. The skies turned to gray, melt away, shining streaks in rain that day. Talking about the good times. Talking about the good. Talking about the good times. Talkin’ about the good.”

Live at the BBC:

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

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Buddy Britten & the Regents: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 3, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

571) Buddy Britten & the Regents — “Right Now”

Former Buddy Holly impersonator lays down the best version ever of a Herbie Mann/Mel Torme jazz classic, turning it into a swingin’ R&B number that Georgie Fame would have been proud it. Oh, and Siouxsie Sioux (with the Creatures) would even do a version in the ‘80s. What are the odds?! Regent Nick Simper recalls that “Right Now” “was a slightly jazzy up-tempo tune which got great reviews and proved popular with audiences, but failed to make the charts.” (http://www.sahmigo.com/details/b/buddy_britten.html)

Mark Deming and All Music Guide write that:

Buddy Britten [Geoffrey Glover-Wright] managed to have a fascinating career for a guy who never scored a hit record: he crossed paths with stars, worked with cult heroes, recorded a handful of memorable singles, and even fashioned a new identity for himself as the decade wore on. . . . [He] became . . . passionate about the guitar as skiffle and the first wave of rock & roll swept the U.K., and his fate was sealed after seeing Buddy Holly on his British tour of 1958. . . . [He] was approached by impresario Reg Calvert, who . . . was backing local acts who would perform in the style of American rock heroes. Calvert felt . . . a tall, lanky young man with horn rim glasses and a Fender Stratocaster . . . was a perfect fit for a Buddy Holly act, and he promptly signed [Geoffrey] to a management deal and gave him the new stage name of Buddy Britten. . . . Along with Buddy Holly’s hits, [Britten and his backing band the Regents] played a variety of pop and rock material as well as a few originals, and they landed a one-off deal with Decca Records in 1962, the same year Britten scored a residency at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany. When the Decca single failed to click . . . [they] a home at . . . Oriole Records. . . . [Their] first single for Oriole was “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody,” a tune recommended . . . by John Lennon (the Beatles shared bills with [them] in their early days) . . . .

After playing at various clubs in Hamburg, Britten developed a more abrasive Merseybeat sound and provided a strong single coupling James Ray’s ‘If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody’ and ‘Money’. The former song lost out to Freddie And The Dreamers’ version and subsequent Britten singles on the Oriole and Piccadilly labels were seldom heard outside the Midlands. . . .

[I]t was steady live work that was supporting the group . . . . Hoping to give himself a fresh start, in 1966 Geoffrey . . . abandoned the name Buddy Britten and formed a new group, the Simon Raven Cult . . . . [He] stayed in music for a while, landing a position as a staff producer and songwriter with Apple Music through his old friend . . . Lennon, but he would enjoy greater success as a novelist, writing a series of thrillers . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/buddy-britten-mn0001759548/biography, https://www.allmusic.com/artist/buddy-britten-the-regents-mn0000534930/biography

Deming adds that:

[Britten’s] style more closely recalled the very polished and show-bizzy sound of early U.K. rock than the fresher, less studied approach that was ushered in by the Fab Four . . . . [but] the professional polish that allowed him to enjoy a long and stable career in music also kept him from breaking through when British rock got wilder and more ambitious as the ’60s wore on.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/long-gone-baby-complete-singles-1962-1967-mw0002580446

Oh, and by the way, Nick Simper recalls that Keith Moon “had passed an audition for the Regents, but received an offer from the Who just two days after accepting the job with Buddy.” (http://forgottenbands.blogspot.com/2009/10/buddy-britten-regents.html)

“Right now, let me take you by the hand. Right now, put your lips at my command. Right now, fly me onto lovers’ land. Baby [chorus: “baby”] don’t you leave me at the post. Kiss me [chorus: “kiss me”], you can feel it coast to coast. Right now [chorus: “right now”], well I need your love the most. You have set my soul on fire. Only you can satisfy this great desire. Right now [chorus: “right now”] let the wine of love flow free. Right now time [chorus: “right now”] be the lover you can be. Right now [chorus: “right now”], come and give yourself to me. You have set my soul on fire. Only you can satisfy this great desire. One time [chorus: “one time”], let the wine of love flow free. One time [chorus: “one time”] be the lover you can be. Right now come and give yourself to me.”

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Mel Torme:

Herbie Mann:

Here are the Creatures:

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

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Barry Gibb: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 2, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

570) Barry Gibb — “Peace in my Mind”

An utterly gorgeous, utterly perfect pop song by Barry from his solo album that was never to be.

“All I ask is peace in my mind” — which Barry Gibb might have longed for during the short-lived breakup of The Bee Gees. Matt Collar writes that “[t]he Bee Gees’ tempestuous personal relationships led to their 1969 breakup, and when the band members stopped working together, Barry turned to thoughts of a solo career [see #439]. He began recording an album, which was supposed to be called The Kid’s No Good, but he only got as far as releasing one single, ‘I’ll Kiss Your Memory’ (1970), before returning to work with his brothers.” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/barry-gibb-mn0000659118/biography) Joseph Brennan believes that the brothers’ shelving of their solo albums was an aspect of their reconciliation. (http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/beegees/70.html)

Tim Roxborough says that: “Barry [went] full Americana for his album The Kid’s No Good, a strong set of songs that got shelved when he reconciled with Robin and Maurice in the back half of 1970. ” (https://www.roxboroghreport.com/2020/11/why-barry-gibb-recording-a-superstar-country-duets-album-makes-perfect-sense.html) And Ludovic Hunter-Tilney writes that “[i]n 1970 [Barry] made a country-flavoured solo album, The Kid’s No Good, which was junked when he returned to the Bee Gees’ fold. ‘I love country music and I probably allowed a little more than I should have to influence me,’ he said of the unreleased project.” (https://www.ft.com/content/4b986f80-7c58-4d0f-b806-8634ef831c14)

“Deep in the night, the lonely virgin keeps her vigil high on a hill. She hears the horn of a lonely shepherd counting his sheep when the morning is still. Peace in my mind, a love in my heart is something we’ve still got to learn. The moment you find it’s drifted apart, slowly but surely you turn. Let the whole world pick up my lines. All I ask is peace in my mind. You plant a seed, ten years later you’ll find a street where the flowers should be. Though you don’t know, you’re wearing glasses, still making passes at things you can’t see. Peace in my mind, a love in my heart, is something we’ve still got to learn. The moment you find it’s drifted apart, slowly but surely you turn. Let the whole world pick up my lines. All I ask is peace in my mind. . . .”

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

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Sons of Adam: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 1, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

569) Sons of Adam — “Saturday’s Son”

A classic garage B-side from kings of L.A.’s Strip (see #187) about an outcast so screwed he would have given everything to have been born under a bad sign! “Saturday’s Son” is a “killer track, with cool ‘bad seed’ lyrics . . . manic fast-paced drumming and . . . scorching lead guitar work.” Fred Thomas notes that there is both a “raved-up live rendition as well as a studio version, calling on both Byrds-y vocal harmonies and aggressive fuzz guitar leads.” (https://www.allmusic.com/album/saturdays-sons-the-complete-recordings-1964-1966-mw0003744451)

As to the Sons of Adam, Fred Thomas tells us that:

A wily garage band with surf roots, the Sons of Adam existed for a brief window in the mid-’60s, with bandleader, guitarist, and songwriter Randy Holden going on to be part of Blue Cheer and other members playing roles in groups of their era like Love. They only publicly released a few singles before disbanding . . . . The Sons of Adam formed in Baltimore, Maryland in the summer of 1963, existing first as an instrumental surf-rock combo called the Fendermen led by guitarist . . . Holden [who had] spent a few years with co-guitarist Joe Kooken and bassist Mike Port going through different drummers and developing their surfy sound, eventually cutting a few singles as the Fenders IV. By 1965 they had relocated to Los Angeles and changed their name to the Sons of Adam [and] embrac[ing] the British Invasion rock sound . . . . [T]he band played constantly on the west coast, sharing bills with many of the era’s other bands that found fame as beat music quickly morphed into psychedelic rock. They released two singles with Decca before Holden left the band in August of 1966, allegedly quitting on the spot at a San Francisco show . . . when Port yelled at him to turn his amp down. . . . Holden would play with the Other Half before joining Blue Cheer in 1969 . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-sons-of-adam-mn0000501988/biography

I don’t have the band’s new compilation album, but Greg Prevost & Mike Stax wrote an utterly mesmerizing article about the Sons. I offer a few excerpts, but you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing:

From late ’65 until early ’67, the Sons of Adam were one of the most happening bands on the Sunset Strip, playing to packed houses at clubs like Gazzarri’s, Bito Lido’s and the Whisky A Go Go. They had the right sound, the right image, and some of the most talented musicians on the scene. They even had their share of lucky breaks, including an appearance in a major Hollywood movie and a deal with Decca Records. Arthur Lee even gave them one of his songs. Yet somehow the Sons of Adam never managed to lift themselves out of the Hollywood club scene and into the major leagues. Today they’re mostly remembered as the band Michael Stuart was in before he joined Love, or the band Randy Holden was in before joining Blue Cheer. What’s too often overlooked is that the Sons have a proud legacy of their own: three enormously great 45 releases . . . .

It was at the Beaver Inn that the group encountered Kim Fowley [who] apparently liked the group but thought that the Fender IV was a “dogshit” name . . . . He came up with a new name for the group on the spot: The Sons of Adam. . . .

As the Sons of Adam they continued to build a following on the live circuit. As Michael Stuart remembers it, “we began to attract more of a hip crowd.” Their growing reputation led to a residency at a Hollywood club, Gazarri’s on La Cienega, and, later, its more high profile location on the Sunset Strip. . . . [O]ne night the movie director Sydney Pollack caught the band and asked them to appear in a movie he was shooting, The Slender Thread, starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft. “We said, ‘Okay, we do lots of things like that,’” quips Randy. The band’s scene, set in a nightclub, was shot on a soundstage at Paramount. “Actually, it took twelve hours to film three seconds,” complains Holden. “I hated it. It was absolute misery. They kept blowing this smoke that you have in movies-it’s beeswax. . . . It’s horrible to breathe that garbage all day long. It’s also horrible to lip-sync something repeatedly, over and over. . . . As for the high-energy guitar instrumental they’re miming to: “That wasn’t us!” confesses Jac. “We recorded a whole bunch of stuff and apparently none of it worked out. . . . so they got some studio guys to do that track. It was probably Glen Campbell.” . . .

With a powerful single in the can, the band felt confident their fortune was about to change, but then word came back from New York that the executives at Decca were concerned about one of the lines in [the A-side, a cover of the Yardbirds’] “Mister You’re A Better Man Than I.” “Decca gave us a hard time about the lyric ‘The color of his skin is the color of his soul,’” explains [Jac] Ttanna, “and they wouldn’t put the record out because of this line, which is so lame. Then finally Terry Knight & the Pack put it out. Then after that Decca decided it was OK to put it out. Terry Knight had already taken off with it by then, so we lost our chance of possibly having a hit record.”

http://ugly-things.com/the-sons-of-adam-saturdays-sons-of-the-sunset-strip/

“Thirteenth child of a thirteenth child. Born in the back streets and growing up wild. Thirteenth son of a thirteenth son. What was my sin? Oh what have I done? Why am I cursed to walk alone? Where is the love that I’ve never known? No hand is open, there is no one, for the thirteenth child, Saturday’s son. Thirteen letters spell my name. Born with a shriek and a scream of pain. Thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day. Left with a mark that will stay and stay. Why am I cursed to walk this land searching for one friendly hand? There is no pleasure, not one bit of fun for the thirteenth child, Saturday’s son. Somebody somewhere, help me please. And say just one kind word for me. And let the spell come undone. For the thirteenth child, Saturday’s son.”

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Here it is live:

Here are the Sons in The Slender Thread:

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

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Fickle Pickle: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 31, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

568) Fickle Pickle — “Saturday”

One of those seemingly miraculous Beatlesque songs that seem to have come out of nowhere, “Saturday” from Sinful Skinful is sort of a Saturday in the Park with You. Shindig Magazine says that the album’s “best tracks are blissful, sublime almost majestically effortless pop classics: [songs including] “Saturday” . . . employ strong harmonies and melodies and leave you speechless at their craft. (http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2013/06/fickle-pickle-sinful-skinful-1971-uk.html). Kevin Rathert says that Fickle Pickle “exhibits its ability to combine gorgeous melodies and beautiful vocal harmonies with skillful musicianship. . . . A very solid piece of melodic power pop . . . .” (https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2018/11/fickle-pickle-complete-pickle-2018.html?amp=1) “[A] magnificent album, crammed with songs of wit, cynicism & wisdom, laden with memorable hooks and mellifluous harmonies.” (https://johnkatsmc5.tumblr.com/post/617117260256018432/fickle-pickle-sinful-skinful-1971-a-complete)

[T]his album is an absolute KILLER of UK Beatles-inspired pop psych – a bit late in the game in 1971, but still clinging desperately to the spirit of ‘68 Swinging London . . . . [P]erhaps the strongest melody of them all here belongs to the AMAZING baroque pop track “Saturday” – one of those 3 minute pop tunes where everything just seems to fall in place perfectly – lush harmonies, sawing baroque cellos, and a melody that is pure unadulterated classic toytown pop! Quintessential baroque goodness here, quite intricate yet simple, like the Move . . . or the Idle Race – in a perfect world, this song would have made Fickle Pickle a household name and put “Saturday” on countless Swingin’ Sixties Pop compilations but maybe it would have had a better shot if it were released in 1968 instead of 1971, when the world had already moved on to Deep Purple and Jethro Tull. As it is, it’s one of those rare and glorious treasures that only a handful of lucky people will ever get to hear.

https://johnkatsmc5.tumblr.com/post/617117260256018432/fickle-pickle-sinful-skinful-1971-a-complete

Who were these guys? Kevin Rathert tells us that:

A North-West London studio based quartet consisting of members best known as producers, engineers and session players, Fickle Pickle was actually a bit of an English psych pop supergroup consisting of Cliff Wade (lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass guitar) and Geoff Gill (drums) from The Smoke, best known for their late 60’s acid classic “My Friend Jack” along with Wil Malone (piano, organ and electric piano) from Orange Bicycle and Steve Howden (lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass guitar) from Red Dirt. Vocals for the band were supplied by all four members. The three bands had in common that they recorded at Morgan Studios in London, so it was rather inevitable that the four combined their talents and recorded a handful of singles as well as an LP that received very limited distribution.

https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2018/11/fickle-pickle-complete-pickle-2018.html?amp=1

How did they get into this pickle? —

Boasting four writers, singers and multi-instrumentalists who, between them, also handled production, engineering and arrangement duties, Fickle Pickle had the wit, cynicism, hooks, harmonies and technical dexterity to bridge the barren years between the demise of The Beatles and the eventual arrival in late 1972 of their kindred spirits 10cc. Fickle Pickle consisted of former members of the bands The Smoke (Cliff Wade, Geoff Gill), Orange Bicycle (Wil Malone) and Red Dirt (Steve Howden), who also worked as sound engineers and producers at North London’s Morgan Studios. Danny Beckerman (Pussy/Fortes Mentum) helped out as a musician and songwriter in the bands early days. In August 1970, Fickle Pickle published a cover version of Paul McCartney’s song Maybe I’m Amazed as a single in the UK, the USA and the Netherlands, where it climbed to No. 36 in the Top 40 in the spring of 1971. In the autumn of 1971, California Calling, written by Gill and Beckerman reached number 26. Due to this success in the Netherlands [they got to] release[] an album, Sinful Skinful.

https://johnkatsmc5.tumblr.com/post/617117260256018432/fickle-pickle-sinful-skinful-1971-a-complete

“In the morning shiver river light. On Saturday contemplating dreams for us tonight. When you remember on Saturday, remember we [end?] away, remember I do Saturday with you. Right up to the noon alone with you. On Saturday, smoking, joking laying tea for two. Will you remember on Saturday, remember we [end?] away, remember I do Saturday with you. I remember, I remember, every Saturday with you. . . .”

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

All new subscribers will receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock magnet. New subscribers who sign up for a year will also receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock t-shirt or baseball cap. See pictures on the Pay to Play page.

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The Sorrows: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 30, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

566) The Sorrows — “Pink, Purple, Yellow and Red”

We’ve heard the Sorrows’ UK hit, “Take a Heart” (see #407), which reached #21 over there in ’65. As Vernon Joynson writes, “[a]fter leaving Britain, because they were not able to repeat the success of Take a Heart, the Sorrows surfaced in Italy where they released an album and some singles to moderate success. . . . Their 1967 single “Pink, Purple, Yellow and Red” was an atmospheric single about depression. (The Tapestry of Delights Revisited) However, Kevin Rathert says that after the group relocating to Italy, “in June, 1967, [it] released ‘Pink, Purple, Yellow And Red’ a song presented to them by an Italian songwriter who had the basic melody but no lyrics. The band added English lyrics, the four colors allegedly representing the stages of an acid trip. The tune features revved up fuzz guitar, its trippy lyrics joining a heavy psychedelic rock riff.” (https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2021/07/the-sorrows-pink-purple-yellow-and-red-the-complete-sorrows-2021.html) Depression or acid? Who knows, and, if course, psychedelics are now being used to treat depression. A great rousing song in any event. Let’s call it spaghetti psych!

Mark Deming gives an accounting of the post “Take a Heart” Sorrows through ’67:

In October 1965, the Sorrows followed up their hit with “You’ve Got What I Want’ . . . a strong release that nonetheless failed to live up to “Take a Heart’s success, peaking at a disappointing chart placement of Number 47. However, the success of “Take a Heart” led to Piccadilly releasing an album of the Sorrows, also titled Take a Heart . . . . [which] stiffed on the charts[. A]fter another two singles came and went without notice, bassist Philip Packham resigned, and vocalist Don Fardon [yes, that Don Fardon] soon followed. The rest of the group soldiered on; Pip Whitcher became lead singer as well as guitarist, Wez Price moved over to bass, and Bruce Finlay continued as drummer. . . . The group had recorded phonetically translated German and Italian versions of “Take a Heart,” and the latter belatedly became a hit in Italy in June 1966, bolstered by a much-talked-about appearance at the Cantagiro Song Festival. The group was offered an extensive Italian tour, and they hit the road . . . . RCA . . . soon brought them into the studio to cut a pair of tunes for a movie starring Anita Ekberg, Come Imparai Ad Amare Le Donne (aka How I Learned to Love Women) in 1967. They would also appear onscreen in a youth-oriented feature, I Ragazzi Di Bandiera Gialla (aka The Lads of the Yellow Flag). . . . [But] Whitcher missed British life and opted to go home [as did another band member]. As the Sorrows had paying gigs booked in Europe, Price and Finlay needed to round up replacement players pronto, and through a friend they found a pair of British musicians staying in Italy . . . . With Price moving back to rhythm guitar and taking on lead vocal duties, the band did live work and cut a single issued only in Italy, “Zabadak” b/w “La Liberta Costa Cara.”

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-sorrows-mn0000429259/biography

“Life, may what it’s cracked up to be. And my friends all wish me dead. Maybe then they’ll all agree. Wrap the flowers and prove me pink and purple, yellow and red, pink and purple, yellow and red in my head. Wish me dead. My life is wasted, the fruits I have tasted at times they won’t let me down. My girl has left me, but that don’t upset me. I’ll keep both my feet on the ground. Now, all the whiskey bottles low. On my face there is a smile. Sure there’s something gonna blow. In my head I see the pink and purple, yellow and red, pink and purple, yellow and red, round my head. It’s gonna blow. Tell me I’m dreaming. I look at the ceiling and I lie alone on my bed. There’s what I’m after. The rooms full of laughter and pink, purple, yellow and red.”

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Please consider helping to support my website/blog by contributing $6 a month for access to the Off the Charts Spotify Playlist. Using a term familiar to denizens of Capitol Hill, you pay to play! (“relating to or denoting an unethical or illicit arrangement in which payment is made by those who want certain privileges or advantages in such arenas as business, politics, sports, and entertainment” — dictionary.com).

The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

All new subscribers will receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock magnet. New subscribers who sign up for a year will also receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock t-shirt or baseball cap. See pictures on the Pay to Play page.

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Jack Grunsky: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 29, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

566) Jack Grunsky — “Figure of the Gothic Age”

Lovely, lilting ‘70 folk rock tribute to the gargoyles of the Middle Ages and their makers. I know, I know, not another paean to a gargoyle, but this one is really good and the Stones’ Mick Taylor plays guitar! (https://archive.org/details/jack-grunsky-toronto-1970) Jack Grunsky was famous at the time — well, he was famous in Austria. Most people know him now as a children’s music superstar.

Austria’s City Magazin says (courtesy of Google Translate):

Born in Austria, [Jack Grunsky] crossed the Atlantic as a small child on the Queen Elizabeth II with his parents, both musicians. The family emigrated to Canada [and] little Jack spent his childhood in Toronto. . . . Somehow he was drawn back to Europe. After graduating from high school, Jack . . . went to Vienna in 1964 and studied painting at the art academy. . . . For ten years he was in the top of the European charts as a singer and songwriter, some of them with Jack’s Angels. He had his own weekly radio show “Folk with Jack” on ORF [Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, Austria’s PBS]. In 1974, Jack Grunsky crossed the Atlantic again towards Canada. . . . and discovered his love for music for children. . . .

https://web.archive.org/web/20070928121943/http://www.city-magazin.at/storysundevents/szeneundleute/grunsky.html

Grunsky recounts his career:

After finishing high school in Toronto in 1964, I moved to Austria to study at the Academy of Arts in Vienna. At the same time I formed a folk singing group called ‘Jack’s Angels’ and we were signed to Amadeo Records, touring and recording 4 albums. Within the span of two years we gained considerable popularity before disbanding in 1968. The record label kept me on for two more albums after which I was brought on board the progressive German ‘Kuckuck’ label in Munich. I pursued a solo singer-songwriter career for the next 8 years, touring extensively throughout Europe and recording 5 more albums of original material. My ‘Toronto’ LP [including “Figure”] was recorded in London and was produced by Alexis Korner with various tracks featuring Mick Taylor (of the Stones) on slide guitar. In Vienna I composed music for 3 television children’s musicals . . . . With a few hits on the charts . . . and also hosting my own radio show ‘Folk mit Jack’ for ORF Austria, my following continued to grow in the Euro Pop Music scene of that time. . . . In 1974, together with my family, I returned to Canada. In spite of European success highlights, a shift in the Euro music industry took place and I found myself in fringe territory. I was seeking closer connection with the folk/rock music scene happening in North America. . . . [I released] my album ‘The Patience Of A Sailor’ and . . . reboot[ed] my singing career . . . . We performed as a band in clubs and festivals and returned to tour in Europe several times allowing me to stay in touch with my fans. In the early 80’s however, pointers and signs were guiding me in a new direction. Our daughter’s teacher invited me into the classroom to sing with the students. This led to offers to be a freelance music teacher at various Montessori schools around greater Toronto. . . . I became passionate about quality children’s music and discovered a market in need of it. Building a repertoire of original children’s songs and drawing on my concert performance experiences, I soon found a manager, a concert agent and eventually was signed up to the BMG Kidz Music label. . . . I have presented my children’s performances and workshops for over 30 years. This led to countless . . . teacher workshop opportunities across Canada and the US . . . . TV and radio appearances; major concert tours and international children’s festivals followed plus a number of symphony shows for family audiences. To date I’ve released 16 CD’s for children garnering a number of awards including 3 JUNO’s [Canada’s Grammys].

https://www.jackgrunsky.net/bio

While that was a bit self-promotional (I guess to get bookings), here is a part of a quite enlightening and appealing interview that Jack Grunksy had with TV Ontario in 1997:

Richard Ouzounian: I KNOW YOU FORMED A GROUP AT ONE POINT, JACK’S ANGELS, RIGHT?

Jack Grunsky: YES.

Richard: I HAVE VISIONS OFCHARLIE’S ANGELS. IT WASN’T THE SAME THING. IT WASN’T YOU AND THREE —

Jack: IT WAS A TERRIBLE NAME.

Richard: NO. IT WASN’T THREE BODACIOUS LADIES BEHIND YOU WHILE YOU SANG UP FRONT, NO.

Jack: THE NAME JACK’S ANGELS WAS NOT MY DOING.

Richard: OKAY.

Jack: WHEN I LIVED IN VIENNA, WHENI WAS TAKING THE COURSE AT THE ACADEMY OF ARTS, I FORMED THIS GROUP. AND WE PERFORMED OUR REPERTOIRE OF FOLK SONGS, NORTH AMERICAN, BRITISH FOLK SONGS. AND I HAD ALREADY STARTED TO WRITE SONGS WITH THE GUITAR. AND MY FASCINATION WITH THE NORTH AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC SCENE, AT THAT TIME, THE KIND OF MUSIC I WAS LISTENING TO DURING HIGH SCHOOL, SUCH AS PETER, PAUL AND MARY, THE KINGSTON TRIO, BOB DYLAN,THOSE KIND OF PEOPLE,THEY WERE MY ROLE MODELS. SO WITH THIS ENTHUSIASM OF WANTING TO EMULATE BEING A SONGWRITER AND SINGER AND GUITARIST, I SHARED THIS WITH SOME STUDENT FRIENDS OF MINE IN VIENNA. AND WE FORMED THE GROUP AND PERFORMED IN VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN THE AREA. AND A FRIEND OF OURS CONTACTED A RECORD LABEL, AND THEY WERE QUITE INTERESTED IN WHAT WE WERE DOING. SO THEY CAME TO ONE OF OUR CONCERTS, AND WITHIN TWO WEEKS, SIGNED US UP FOR A TWO YEAR CONTRACT, DURING THE TIME OF WHICH WE RECORDED FOUR ALBUMS, AND A NUMBER OF SINGLES, AND STARTED TO TOUR QUITE EXTENSIVELY. I HAVE TO TELL YOU, AT THAT TIME, IN AUSTRIA AND CENTRAL EUROPE, THE NORTH AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC DID NOT YET CATCH ON. SO WHAT I WAS DOING, IN AWAY, WAS NEW TO EUROPEANS. AND THERE WAS A CERTAIN ENTHUSIASM THAT WE COMMUNICATED SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE JOY THAT WE HAD IN SINGING TOGETHER IN HARMONY AND PLAYING TOGETHER. AND I THINK THIS SPARKED THE INTEREST AND CAUGHT THE PEOPLE’S IMAGINATION.

Richard: NOW, WHAT YEARS ARE WE TALKING HERE, ROUGHLY?

Jack: THIS WAS ’66, ’67.AND WE CONNECTED WITH JOAN BAEZ WHEN SHE CAME. AND SHE BROUGHT US UP ON STAGE AFTER HER PERFORMANCE. SO THERE WAS CONNECTION TO THE FOLK MUSIC SCENE, WHICH, IN AUSTRIA, THEY LABELLED THE GREEN WAVE. . . . AFTER THE GROUP JACK’S ANGELS DISBANDED BECAUSE SOME OF THE MEMBERS DID NOT WANT TO PURSUE MUSIC AS A CAREER, AND WE WERE GETTING SO BUSY TOURING AND RECORDING THAT IT WAS JUST TOO MUCH FOR THEM. SO WE HAD INTERNAL PROBLEMS. AND THE RECORD LABEL AGREED TO THE SPLIT OF THE GROUP, AS LONG AS I WOULD REMAIN WITH THEM, BEING THE LEADER AND THE SONGWRITER. SO AFTERWARDS, I CONTINUED ON MY OWN AS A SOLO PERFORMER . . . .

Richard: I REMEMBER YOU SAID SOMETHING ONCE ABOUT, YOU SAID THAT A SONG WAS LIKE A LITTLE WINDOW A CHILD COULD LOOK THROUGH. AND YOU SHOW THEM THE WHOLE WORLD.

Jack: WELL, IT’S THE WINDOW OF YOUR IMAGINATION. SO SOUNDS AND SONGS CAN TRIGGER A LOT OF THINGS IN A VERY CONSTRUCTIVE AND POSITIVE WAY.

https://www.tvo.org/transcript/632935

“Figure of the gothic age standing in the midst of the crowd. How majestic and how noble and how sad and lonely your visage looks upon me. Figure of the gothic age, leaning on your flying buttresses. How weary, and how worn, must you be here among the strangers looking up to thee. Figure of the gothic age, sighing in your dreams of yesterday. Figure of the gothic age, ever to outlive the strangers. How precious and how perfect and how beautiful and passionate in mind were your makers.”

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The Dave Clark Five: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 28, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

565) The Dave Clark Five — “Just a Little Bit Now”

I need more than just a little bit of this smoking’ hot DC5 classic right now! Released as a single in the U.S. (’67) — reaching, appropriately, #67 — but not in the UK, it radically transformed and supercharged an R&B falsetto number from ‘62. The summer of Love and they still had it (see #208, 320, 411, 412)! Bruce Eder says it has “a great beat and chorus”. (https://www.allmusic.com/album/five-by-five-mw0000891115)

The song was was written by Jerry Ragovoy and performed by the Majors. Bryan Thomas explains:

The Majors scored an R&B/pop Top 30 hit in 1962 with “A Wonderful Dream.” They are remembered for their outrageous falsetto lead vocals . . . and for being one of the many acts produced by Jerry Ragovoy, an important behind-the-scenes force behind East Coast Soul music. . . . Ragovoy . . . had already begun producing doo wop acts (often distinguished by a conspicuous gospel feel) in the Philadelphia area in 1953, when he and Herb Slotkin (owner of Tregoobs appliance store) formed Grand Records. . . . Ragovoy produced the group’s lone hit, “A Wonderful Dream,” but they failed to hit with anything further. . . . [H]e went on to become quite a successful songwriter, writing or co-writing several classic New York and Philadelphia Soul records in the 1960s, including Garnet Mimms’ “Cry Baby” (which was co-written with . . . Bert Berns) which landed at number four in 1963. In the mid-’60s, Ragovoy also wrote a song for jazz trombonist Kai Winding, “Time Is on My Side,” covered by Irma Thomas, and a U.S. Top Ten hit for The Rolling Stones . . . . Ragovoy became even more prominent in his role as a mentor for Janis Joplin, who . . . cover[ed] . . . his “Piece of My Heart” and “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder),” . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-majors-mn0000048718/biography

“Ow! Hey, hey, hey, hey. Just a little bit now and a little bit later. Just a little kiss, kiss, kiss right now. Save the rest for later. Well, let me tell you now. You can’t take love so fast. Oh, baby, it will never last. Just a little bit, baby, just a little bit now. Now-now-now, now-now, now. And just a little bit now and a little bit later. You gotta take it so easy with love and the loving gets greater. Oh, oh-oh, whoa-oh. If you want love to grow, you gotta take it, baby, very, very slow. Just a little bit, baby, just a little bit now. Now-now-now, now-now, now. You know I want your loving. But not for just a day. You got to plan ahead or else our love will surely slip away. Just a little bit now and a little bit later. Just a lot of good kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kissing adds to the flavor. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now, that you are mine, we won’t rush, we got a lot of time. Just a little bit, baby, just a little bit now. Wow. You know I want your loving. But not for just a, not for just a day. Ah, you got to plan ahead, or else our love will surely slip away. Just a little bit now, yeah, just a little bit later. Just a lot of good kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kissing adds to the flavor. Oh, oh-oh, oh, oh. Now, that you are mine, we won’t rush, we got a lot of time. Just a little bit, baby, just a little bit now. Ow!”

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The Majors:

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The Deviants: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 27, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

564) The Deviants — “Somewhere to Go”

Mick Farren and the Deviants rose out of the London underground to blaze the trail for ’70’s punk rock. Ptooff!, their first album, is hailed as an accidental masterpiece. “Somewhere to Go” is not from that album. Farren described Disposable, their second album (’68), as “truly awful”. “Somewhere” is from that album.

To me, “Somewhere” is one of the Deviants’ greatest songs, a hypnotic call for revolution, but also a call for patience, that revolution will come, or maybe it will come . . . if we can find somewhere to go. “Got to find somewhere to go. Got to find someone who knows. Got to find some place to stay. Got to find some other way. ” “Somewhere” has a definite Doors-y vibe. In fact, it could effortlessly replace “The End” in Apocalypse Now.

Richie Unterberger writes that:

In the late ’60s, the Deviants were something like the British equivalent to the Fugs, with touches of the Mothers of Invention . . . and . . . British R&B-based rock . . . . Their roots were . . . in . . . the psychedelic underground that began to take shape in London in 1966-1967. Not much more than amateurs when they began playing, they squeezed every last ounce of skill and imagination out of their limited instrumental and compositional resources on their debut, Ptooff!, which combined savage social commentary, overheated sexual lust, psychedelic jamming, blues riffs, and pretty acoustic ballads . . . . Their subsequent ’60s albums had plenty of outrage, but not nearly as strong material . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-deviants-mn0000818593/biography

Unterberger also notes that:

The Deviants were only minimally competent instrumentalists when they made their debut album, Ptooff, in 1967. They had only worked up a bare handful of original tunes. But they had managed to synthesize their wildly diverse influences . . . into an album that transcended the group’s limitations into something of a minor masterpiece. . . . [that] anticipated the pre-punk thrash of the Stooges and MC5. . . . The Deviants may have been aligned with the hippie/underground movement. Yet if this was flower-power and free love, it was delivered with a sneer that had no patience for mindless flight from reality, with an anarchic energy that looked forward a full decade to punk. The Deviants went on to release a couple of more conventional, far less impressive albums . . . .

https://www.furious.com/perfect/mickfarren.html

As to Disposable, Mark Deming writes that:

Plenty of psychedelic groups of the late ’60s embraced a sunny outlook of peace, flowers, and consciousness expansion, but some took a harder line on upending the straight society they sought to replace, and like their spiritual brethren the MC5, the Deviants . . . saw their music as a vehicle for a Total Assault On The Culture. . . . [A]nd while they created a sonic approximation of the rage and defiance behind the Freak Culture on their debut album . . . . their second LP, Disposable, lacks focus or direction and sounds like the work of addled would-be revolutionaries who aren’t sure just what they’re fighting against this morning. Farren has claimed that he and his bandmates were flying on speed during most of the recording of Disposable, but there isn’t much energy (artificial or otherwise) in these performances, and many of the tunes collapse into meandering jams performed by musicians who lack the chops . . . . There are a few exceptions [including] “Somewhere to Go,” the only extended jam . . . that manages to actually find a groove . . . . Disposable is fascinating as a document of the U.K.’s anarchist hippie scene and where it went both right and wrong, but as entertainment, you’re a lot better off listening to Ptooff! Or looting a supermarket [a song on Ptooff!].

https://www.allmusic.com/album/disposable-mw0000825300

Mick Farren was one of the great London personalities, of the ’60’s and beyond. Richard Williams writes that:

Throughout his life as a writer, musician (with his band, the Deviants) and provocateur, Farren did his best to incarnate the qualities he saw as vital ingredients of the rock’n’roll spirit. . . . In the words of his friend, the publisher Felix Dennis, he was a “doorman, editor, journalist, rock star, rabble rouser, critic and commentator, charlatan, jester, impresario, gunslinging cross-dresser, icon, author, songwriter, poet”. With his gigantic white-boy Afro, his studded belt, his leather jacket and his aviator shades, Farren certainly looked like the man who had led the White Panthers UK, a branch of the organisation which had been set up in Chicago . . . as a brothers-in-arms counterpart to the Black Panthers. The only impact made by the UK offshoot, during its brief and ill-defined existence, came as part of the unholy alliance of Hell’s Angels, Young Liberals and student radicals from France, Germany and Holland who tore down the 9ft corrugated iron walls surrounding the 1970 Isle of Wight festival. . . . [H]e joined the staff of the International Times, the [revered London] underground weekly . . . . To the coterie of former beatniks, proto-hippies, literary avant-gardists, anarchists and revolutionaries who formed its staff, he brought something different. “For him, the underground was a logical extension of the original rock’n’roll rebellion,” wrote Barry Miles, one of IT’s founders. “He cared passionately about Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent and all the original rockers . . . . He saw the Hell’s Angels and mods and rockers as part of the same energetic thrust to change society as the Beat generation or Che Guevara.” By that time Farren was also occupied as the lead singer of a band originally called the Social Deviants, the name under which they played at Alexandra Palace in April 1967 as part of the celebrated 14-Hour Technicolour Dream . . . . [They] borrow[ed] much of the scabrous wit of Frank Zappa but little of the finesse . . . .

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/jul/29/mick-farren

Richie Unterberger’s 1997 sit-down with Mick Farren is probably the greatest, most hilarious rock interview I have ever read. Let me relay a bit of it as is relevant to today’s song, but you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing:

You know, we were pretty incompetent at the start. We were pretty incompetent at the end. . . . [W]e made a second album which was truly awful, Disposable. The first album, we didn’t really know enough to be daunted by what we were attempting to do. On the second one, we really, we learned a bit more, which was just enough to make it bad . . . . The musicians started wanting to play. Rather than just kind of tinkling, which we had going on the first album. . . . [where] we really didn’t know what we were doing, so we didn’t care. The second [album], we got into the band business, and ceased to be innovative, and just became another f*cking band. . . . The eventual demise of the Deviants was when me and the guitar player . . . really were at odds about musicianship. I kind of thought it sucked. He had really this idea to be Jimmy Page . . . . The only claim to fame the Deviants had is we managed to persevere and actually get some stuff down onto vinyl. ‘Cause there are other bands, like the Brothers Grimm and the Giant Sun Troll and the whole list of them you see on posters. But they never actually got to record. And back in those days, you didn’t tape the shows, because we didn’t have the technology. So a lot of that stuff was lost. Fortunately, we weren’t. That was an incredibly lucky break, or we would have just been a name on a poster. . . . Sometimes it’d be the hippies who’d get freaked out [at our live shows]. ‘Cause they’d be there with their beads and bells, and really not understand why we were snarling at them and setting fire to our arms and things. . . . [T]hey thought that was all a bit aggressive, man. We were a very angry band. We were pissed off, generally, at the state of the world . . . . But it frequently just came down to being pissed off with each other. You have to remember, we took a lot of speed and we drank a lot, and we also had the most incredible hangovers. . . . It doesn’t make for a harmonious traveling band. That’s why we didn’t turn into the Grateful Dead, I guess. Plus, we didn’t know that many guitar riffs.

https://www.furious.com/perfect/mickfarren.html


Oh, and Farren clears up how the band got its name . . . first the Social Deviants and then the Deviants:

It actually comes from the fact that we all had a house in the East End of London. And we picked up the paper one day, and it said that Tower Hamlet, which was one of the new constructed boroughs in East London, had the highest percentage of social deviance in the country. “Right, that’s us.” But saying it became really a drag. “What band are you in?” “The Social Deviants!” “Wot?” “Okay, the Deviants.”

https://www.furious.com/perfect/mickfarren.html

“We want our world to be free. We want our world to be free. Maybe you got the dogs and the guns. But someday, you won’t see us run. We gotta find somewhere to go. We gotta find somewhere to go. Got to find somewhere to go. Got to find someone who knows. Got to find some place to stay. Got to find some other way. We find ourselves a new dream. We find ourselves a new dream. Maybe it won’t come today. But you’ll find out somewhere along the way. We gotta find somewhere to go. Got to find somewhere to go. Got to find someone who knows. Got to find some place to stay. Got to find some other way. . . . Got to find somewhere to go. Got to find somewhere to go. . . .”

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The Twilights: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 26, 2022

.”THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

563) The Twilights — “Always”

This ’68 A-side is utter perfection. Paul Culnane nails it calling the song “a sumptuous ballad, a rich mix of acoustic guitars, trilling flute embellishments, and . . . haunting lead vocal.” (http://www.milesago.com/artists/twilights.htm) Australia’s greatest live band of the ’60’s shows its sensitive side!

Richie Unterberger writes that:

One of the better Australian groups of the ’60s, the Twilights were not especially innovative, but played competent, harmony-driven British Invasion-styled rock, strongly recalling both the “beat” and pseudo-psychedelic era Hollies. Relying largely on the original material of guitarist Terry Britten, they recorded over a dozen singles, as well as a couple albums, between 1965 and 1968, chalking up a few large Australian hits.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-twilights-mn0000803627/biography

Paul Culnane goes deep:

The Twilights ranked alongside their contemporaries The Masters Apprentices [see #297] and The Easybeats [see #201] and solo singer Normie Rowe as one of the most successful and popular Australian pop acts of the 1960s . . . . The[y] have earned acclaim and respect for their formidable body of recorded work, coupled with their legendary status as arguably the most polished and accomplished Australian live act of the era. Glenn Shorrock [has said that] . . . my first band, The Twilights, is the band I remember most fondly; we were very close then in a very exciting period of pop.” . . . [They] were seduced by the magic of . . . “A Hard Days’ Night” [and d]rawn together by their British origins[,] . . Glenn Shorrock . . . and his friends Mike Sykes and Clem “Paddy” McCartney . . . formed an a-cappella trio . . . eventually gaining regular bookings around the relatively meagre Adelaide folk/coffee-house circuit. Occasionally . . . the[y] teamed with local instrumental outfits, among them . . . The Hurricans. . . . [T]he prospect of blending it all together [with the Hurricans] would prove irresistible. . . . The Twilights began to cause a stir with their dynamic live shows in Adelaide . . . . [Manager Gary] Spry’s strategy was to establish the group in Australia’s pop capital, Melbourne, so The Twilights moved there in late 1965, and rapidly became established as one of the top acts . . . . It was with their classic fifth single “Needle In A Haystack” [originally by Martha & the Vandellas] that The Twilights achieved national success. . . . The next milestone was a new established national pop competition, The Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds. . . . In July 1966, The Twilights took the stage at Festival Hall, Melbourne, before a full house of screaming . . . fans, to win the competition ahead of over 500 other hopefuls. . . . [winning them] . . . a trip to England. . . . [where t]hey made a bee-line for all the essential landmarks of swingin’ London. . . . The last single [A-side “Cathy Come Home”] from the group in 1967 used the sitar as a lead instrument on both sides. . . . The single was another unqualified airplay and chart success, but it was to be the last major hit that the band enjoyed. . . . Concurrent with the release of the[ir ’68] album [Once Upon a Twilight…] came the group’s eleventh single, “Always”. . . . Great single, crap response – the demise was about to set in. . . . Nevertheless, 1968 was certainly the band’s year as a performing entity. Melbourne was “theirs” as they dominated the city’s thriving dance and disco circuit.

Glenn Shorrock later was lead singer of the Little River Band and, as Paul Culnane says, Terry Britten became “songwriter to the stars . . . plac[ing] strong chart hits for Cliff Richard [and] Tina Turner . . . writing ‘Just Good Friends’ with Graham Lyle . . . for Michael Jackson’s mega-selling Bad album. . . . [and] winning a Grammy for his theme to the movie Mad Max 3 – Tina’s ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’ ”

“If I could only try to find a way to make you stay beside me always. I’d give a pocket full of dreams away to make you stay beside me always. If I could have a day, I’d say the words and you could say you need me always. And then there might be times when I’d regret the things I said, but if I wait too long I’ll lose you. My heart is sure to find the answer that I’m searching for with you. La la la . . . . If I could have a day I’d say the words and you could say you need me always. If I could only try to find a way to make you stay beside me always. Make you stay, to make you stay.”

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The Honeybus: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 25, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

562) The Honeybus — “Delighted to See You”

Another glorious track from the glorious Honeybus (see #6, 52, 207, 434). “Delighted to See You” was the band’s first A-side (’67). Bruce Eder says that “[t]heir debut single . . . sounded more like the Beatles than anything heard in British pop/rock since the Searchers had faded from view in early 1966.” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/honeybus-mn0000259186/biography) LN says it is “as great a single as any they released” — which is a well-deserved compliment (http://lyndslounge.blogspot.com/2008/01/1000-great-albums-honeybus-story-1970.html) What is that at the into, a kazoo?

The song even predates Colin Hare joining the band. As Hare recalls:

Honeybus was formed by Pete Dello and Ray Cane 1967. Their first single ‘Delighted To See You’ was recorded with two session men Russ Ballard and Bobby Henrit. It wasn’t a hit but had several BBC Radio plays. Decca wanted promotional photos so Pete and Ray enlisted Pete Kircher on drums. I happened to be walking along Denmark St after leaving the Honeycombs. I spoke to a friend. Told him I was looking for a band and we were standing outside Regent Sound Studio where Honeybus were rehearsing. My friend Grayham said I should go in and introduce myself to a guy called Pete Dello. So I did!

https://www.discogs.com/master/1086490-Honeybus-Delighted-To-See-YouThe-Breaking-Up-Scene

John Peel played “Delighted” on Radio London. “He noted the ‘unusual sounds‘ of the song and that it was Tony Blackburn’s Climber Of The Week.”(https://peel.fandom.com/wiki/Honeybus)

“It’s been a long time now since we first met. No I didn’t forget the look on your face. And there you turn up out of the blue. I can’t believe that it’s really you. Well, I’m delighted to see you, my little child. Delighted to feel your lips on mine. Delighted to spend the night with you. My little child, my little one. I remember the time of so long ago when I didn’t know my way around. But those days are over, and now I can see you’ve learned a lot, just like me. Well, I’m delighted to see you, my little child. . . .”

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

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Just click on the first blue block for a month to month subscription or the second blue block for a yearly subscription.

Little Johnny Taylor: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 24, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

561) Little Johnny Taylor — “Sweet Soul Woman”

“And woman, I will try to express my inner feelings and thankfulness for showing me the meaning of success.” NOT

“My sweet soul woman. She’s a good looking woman. My kind of woman. Whoa, a good cooking woman. Oh, a hard loving woman.” How did this ’70 A-side by Little Johnny Taylor fail to chart? OK, its lyrics might have been a bit dated even in ’70 — I remember my mother wearing a t-shirt that year emblazoned with the slogan “F*ck Housework” — but man does this song cook.

From the Vaults writes that Little Johnny Taylor “was one of the finest practitioners of the style of R&B called soul blues, which merges the vocal approach of black gospel with the blues.” (https://fromthevaults-boppinbob.blogspot.com/2021/02/little-johnny-taylor-born-11february.html) Bill Dahl gives us some more history:

Some folks still get them mixed up, so to get it straight from the outset, Little Johnny Taylor was best known for his scorching slow blues smashes “Part Time Love” (. . . in 1963) and 1971’s “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” . . . . This Johnny Taylor was definitely not the suave Sam Cooke protégé who blitzed the charts with “Who’s Making Love” for Stax in 1968; that’s Johnnie Taylor [see #191, 320], who added to the confusion by covering “Part Time Love” for Stax. Another similarity between the two Taylors: both hailed from strong gospel backgrounds. Little Johnny came to Los Angeles in 1950 and did a stint with the Mighty Clouds of Joy before going secular. . . . [H]is career didn’t soar until he inked a pact with Fantasy’s Galaxy subsidiary in 1963 . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/little-johnny-taylor-mn0000262183/biography

“All day long, I don’t mind being a hard working man. I got waiting at home my sweet woman on hand. And for that woman, I’ll work in the rain and cold. Now when I get to that woman, she brings sunshine in my loving soul [chorus: “C’mon Johnny Johnny Johnny, c’mon Johnny Johnny Johnny”] Listen, now she treats me good like a good woman should. And I’m satisfied, and it’s well understood with my sweet soul woman [chorus: “sweet soul woman”] Lord, my sweet soul woman [chorus: “sweet soul woman”] She come smiling at the door. Lord, she meets me with her kiss. Got prepared for the table, lord, all of my favorite dish. [chorus: “Help yourself, help yourself.”] She let’s me forget about all my hard days. Listen, she comes on so doggone strong, oh, in her loving way. Now she treats me good, like a good woman should. And I’m satisfied, and it’s well understood with my sweet soul woman [chorus: “sweet soul woman”] My sweet soul woman [chorus: “sweet soul woman”] She’s a good looking woman. My kind of woman. Whoa, a good cooking woman. Oh, a hard loving woman. Well, other women proposition me to show me better things. But they could never take the place of my baby, ’cause she’s a many splendored thing. She’s a sweet soul woman. Lord, I’m talking about my sweet soul woman. Oh, oh yeah. [chorus: “sweet soul woman”] My my my my my sweet sweet soul woman [chorus: “sweet soul woman”] Oh, baby. [chorus: “sweet soul woman”] Oh, baby, baby, baby, baby [chorus: “sweet soul woman”] I’m talkin’ about my sweet soul woman. Don’t you know I love you, baby.”

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The Hangmen: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 23, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

560) The Hangmen — “Dream Baby”

The Hangmen “60s’ize” a romantic Roy Orbison classic, mercilessly marching it up the Gallows Pole and down into the garage. OK, OK, I know Orbison released the song as a single in ’62, and that it reached #4 that March. But that was another era! And I know that the Hangmen’s label kept tightening the noose until the boys relented and agreed to record and release it as a single. But, as Chris Bishop says, they give it a “slamming beat and catchy guitar and sitar sounds.” (https://garagehangover.com/hangmen-what-a-girl-cant-do/). I love it!

The Hangmen were the pride of Washington, D.C. and NOVA. As Terence McArdle tells us, “[f]or a few weeks in 1966, at the height of Beatlemania, a rock band from suburban Montgomery County nudged the Beatles’ “Day Tripper” from the No. 1 spot in the local radio market [with their single “What a Girl Can’t Do”]. They called themselves the Hangmen, and they drove from gig to gig in a 1953 Cadillac hearse.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/a-local-life-tom-guernsey-md-musician-who-penned-regional-hit-in-the-1960s-dies-at-68/2012/10/20/b5a5248e-13d7-11e2-be82-c3411b7680a9_story.html)

We’ll, they hadn’t even recorded “What a Girl Can’t Do” — that was the Reekers (yes, that was the band’s name). As Bishop explains:

In early summer of ’65, the Reekers’ managers . . . played “What a Girl Can’t Do” for Fred Foster of Monument Records. . . . Foster signed . . . only Tom [Guernsey] as he was the songwriter and leader of the Reekers. Since [two of the other Reekers] were committed to college, Tom decided, against his own preferences, to work with the Hangmen as his band. Monument then released the Reekers’ recordings of “What a Girl Can’t Do” and “The Girl Who Faded Away” under the Hangmen’s name . . . .

Who, then, were the Hangmen — those Grim Reekers? Guernsey remembers that:

found all the band members just by asking around the campus and finding players—with the exception of the lead singer, Dave Ottley. George called the British embassy in Washington, D.C. and asked if anyone there knew of a British singer looking for a band. A good move, as it was how we hooked up with Dave [who was a hairstylist from Glasgow].

https://web.archive.org/web/20160304172402/http://60sgaragebands.com/hangmen.html

Anyway, after personnel changes including a new singer after Ottley returned to the UK, they went to Nashville to record an album. As Guernsey says:

We recorded our album Bittersweet in Nashville . . . doing our second single ‘Faces’ there. . . . [W]e really wanted to release “I Want To Get To Know You” as our third single, but Monument went with the Roy Orbison tune, ‘Dream Baby’ that they had us cover largely because they had the publishing on the song. I do have to say the album could have been better if we had taken Nashville more seriously at the time. I had produced the single ‘What A Girl Can’t Do,’ and was just 19 at the time and naively thought that I should be producing the album. Also, we all thought of Nashville as a foreign land of country music where people didn’t have a clue what we were trying to do. We didn’t realize until much later that we should have taken the whole project more seriously. I think we spent more time in Nashville bars than the studio. Oh well, it was fun.

I bet it was!

“Sweet dream baby. [chorus: “Sweet dream baby.”] Sweet dream baby. [chorus: “Sweet dream baby.”] Sweet dream baby. [chorus: “Sweet dream baby.”] How long must I dream? Dream baby, got me dreaming sweet dreams the whole day through. Dream baby, got me dreaming sweet dreams in nighttime too. I love you and I’m dreaming of you, but that won’t do. Dream baby, help me stop my dreaming. You and make my dreams come true. Sweet dream baby. . . .”

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Here’s Roy:

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Solomon Burke: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 22, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

559) Solomon Burke — “Home in Your Heart”

“Home in Your Heart” is my favorite Solomon Burke song and one of my favorite soul songs of all-time (thanks, Otis Blackwell!) If it doesn’t stir your soul, baby, you ain’t got one!

And I just realized that I am not alone. Ana-b says that it “is one of the greatest sides ever cut, anywhere, by anyone.” (http://dereksdaily45.blogspot.com/2012/06/solomon-burke-home-in-your-heart-bw.html?m=1) Poinconneur says that it “may be the most overlooked song in 60s soul.” (https://rateyourmusic.com/release/single/solomon-burke/words-home-in-your-heart/) Pianoporsche says that it is Burke’s “crowning achievement . . . . A restless riff mirrors the man’s unflappable dedication, and that all-important snare thwack spurs him on to the hallowed realm of soul outros where the singer flows. No unwarranted pauses or hasty retreats, just a full-throttle outpouring of desire. (https://rateyourmusic.com/release/single/solomon-burke/words-home-in-your-heart/) JurassicPunk posted in on YouTube, saying that “I was surprised to see that my personal fave of [Burke’s] and one of the best Soul songs ever, period, is not on here. So here it is.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mRx17xycHs) Derek says that:

[T]here are so many moments . . . that are mindblowing; first off, whoever is behind the drum kit has a direct hotline to MY heart, and his stop time fills are not only impressive but so effective to complement the lyrics. Then there’s the matter of Solomon’s voice; in a world full of musical fakery, this is a man that fully believes what he’s singing here, and throws his entire soul into the performance, sending the microphone, preamps, and/or tape machine into distortion at JUST the right times, as the distortion drives home words that he wants to enunciate with even more color. It’s all capped off with a slightly sinister laugh at the outro…I’ve listened to it a dozen times this morning and I could easily listen a dozen more.

http://dereksdaily45.blogspot.com/2012/06/solomon-burke-home-in-your-heart-bw.html?m=1

As to Burke, Richie Unterberger tells us that:

While Solomon Burke never had a Top 20 hit, he was an important pioneer of early soul. On his 1960s singles for Atlantic, he brought a country influence into R&B, with emotional phrasing and intricately constructed, melodic ballads and midtempo songs. At the same time, he was surrounded with sophisticated “uptown” arrangements . . . . This combination of gospel, pop, country, and production polish was basic to the recipe of early soul. . . . [Burke] . . . was an important influence upon The Rolling Stones, who covered Burke’s “Cry to Me” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” on their early albums. . . . He was preaching at his family’s Philadelphia church and hosting his own gospel radio show even before he’d reached his teens. He began recording gospel and R&B sides for Apollo in the mid- to late ’50’s. . . . Burke had a wealth of high-charting R&B hits in the early half of the ’60s . . . . [but] he wasn’t able to expand his R&B base into a huge pop following.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/solomon-burke-mn0000031067

Oh, and did he invent the term “soul music”? Christian John Wikane writes that:

[I]n 1960 . . . Burke signed with Atlantic Records, home to Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, and LaVern Baker. At the time, Atlantic was the top rhythm and blues label in the world, but Burke took exception to the “rhythm and blues” moniker and did not hesitate to make his sentiments known. “They were a little upset with me because we [sic] didn’t want to sing rhythm and blues, per se, and be classified as a rhythm and blues artist, because of my religious convictions.” Burke suggested “soul” as an alternate classification to “rhythm and blues”.

https://www.popmatters.com/how-solomon-burke-got-to-nashville-2495734574.html

“Don’t you know I got to find me a home right now in your heart. I’ll travel over mountains, down highways, through the valleys and the bi-ways, just to find me a home in your heart. I’ll bring ya pretty flowers, candy moonbeams, fill your nights with love and sweet dreams, when I when I find my home in your heart. We’ll make sweet pretty music while the birdies sing, tie the love knot with a heart string, just to find a home sweet home in your heart. Baby for you I’ll travel over mountains, down highways, through the valleys baby and bi-ways, just to find a home right now in your heart, hey. Gotta, gotta find a home, home, help me somebody, somebody, somebody. Hey, I gotta, gotta, gotta find my baby right now in her heart.”

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Here, Solomon sings with the Derek Trucks Band in ’02:

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

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The Carolyn Hester Coalition: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 21, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

558) The Carolyn Hester Coalition — “Half the World”

Folkie turns psychedelic. OK, she doesn’t get booed at the Newport Folk Festival, but she does get her share of grief and eye-rolls. “[S]tarry-eyed idealism and girlish, high-pitched vocals” — yes, guilty as charged. But as starry-eyed songs sung with girlish, high-pitched vocals go, this is a great one. It almost makes me want to join the Peace Corps. Oh, and the career lesson here? Never turn down the “Puff the Magic Dragon” gig!

Bad-Cat says that:

Anyone into [Carolyn] Hester’s earlier incarnation as a folk singer is likely to find her decision to turn to a more happenin’/commercial sound disappointing.  On the other hand, anyone into this late-1960s psych-oriented effort is liable to find her earlier folk albums trite and dull. The thought of a folkie turning to psych is probably a major turnoff to many folks.  That’s unfortunate since once you get over Hester’s little girl lost voice, 1968’s “The Carolyn Hester Coalition” is surprisingly enjoyable. . . . “Half the World” offered up some excellent psych/rock . . . .    

https://fancy313.rssing.com/chan-6208908/all_p32.html

Alex Molotkow throws in that “the Coalition were her foray into psychedelia, featuring an all-male team of pros. The band survived for two albums . . . both of which bear the marks of Hester’s folk revivalist past: starry-eyed idealism and girlish, high-pitched vocals.” (https://exclaim.ca/music/article/carolyn_hester_coalition-_carolyn_hester_coalition_magazine) And Jeff Penszak says that she “retains her ties to her roots with high-pitched wailings on . . . the politically charged . . . ‘Half The World.’” (http://www.terrascope.co.uk/Reviews/Reviews_August09.htm)

Finally, Richie Unterberger gives some needed historical context (though I edit out much of his vitriol):

[Hester] was an important if marginal figure of the early-’60s folk revival, singing traditional material with a high voice in the manner of Joan Baez and Judy Collins (though with less command). . . . Hester herself was unable to make it as a folk-rocker despite a brief try, and unpredictably went into psychedelic music for a couple of albums before largely drifting out of the business . . . . In 1960, she made her second album [that] cast her very much in the thick of the folk revival . . . sung in her high, almost shaky and girlish voice. In the early ’60s, she was briefly married to author and folk singer/songwriter Richard Farina, who became friendly with Bob Dylan shortly after Dylan’s arrival in New York. While recording her third album . . . she invited Dylan, then almost unknown, to play harmonica on a few cuts. His work on the album helped bring him to the attention of [John] Hammond, who signed Dylan to Columbia . . . shortly afterwards. While other performers of the early-’60s folk revival made great strides forward in sales and influence . . . Hester remained relatively obscure. She turned down a chance to form a folk trio with Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, offered by manager Albert Grossman; that position went to Mary Travers . . . . [I]n sticking exclusively to traditional material, rather than covering songs by contemporary writers or writing anything herself, Hester was falling behind the folk curve. . . . In the late ’60s, Hester made the unexpected move to psychedelic music as part of the Carolyn Hester Coalition, who recorded a couple of little-known albums [which] were erratic but not half-bad, interspersing updates of traditional material . . . with moody and fuzzy folk-rockers. . . .

Carolyn Hester had been away from the recording scene for a few years when she re-emerged in the late 1960s as the centerpiece of the Carolyn Hester Coalition, a psychedelic- and folk-tinged rock group. It’s hard to read this as anything but an attempt to keep up with the times on the part of someone who missed the boat that made folk and folk-rock a commercial proposition. . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/carolyn-hester-mn0000149166/biography, https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-carolyn-hester-coalition-mw0000818892

“Half the world is starving, half is overfed. Half take sleeping pills at night, half don’t have a bed. Half is struggling to live, half is sitting tight. Which side are you on, brother? Won’t you think before the night. Half the world wants answers, half the world says wait. Half the world has loving hearts, half is full of hate. Half would kill his fellow man, half don’t want to try. Which side are you on, brother? Won’t you think before the night? Half the world is seeing, half the world is blind. Half the world’s intolerant, half the world is kind. I just want the children fed after [?] Which side are you on, brother? Won’t you think before the night? Never mind your country, never mind your skin, never mind which god you love, which half are you in. Half is struggling to live, half is sitting tight. Which side are you on, brother? Why won’t you think before the night?”

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Q’65: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 20, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

557) Q’65 — “Cry in the Night”

“Cry” is the B-side to Q’65’s explosive ’66 A-side “The Life I Live” (see #108). It is equally as explosive, and some consider it superior. High Times says that the song “is possibly the most powerful 45 ever . . . . Wim Bieler more than makes up for his crimes against the English language with an impassioned vocal . . . while the lead and rhythm guitars lock horns on the break, resulting in the greatest guitar battle of the ’60s. ” (https://hightimes.com/culture/dutch-punk-in-the-1960s/amp/) Tim Sandra says that it “is the group’s best, a snarling garage stomper with nasty guitar breaks and sneering vocals.” (https://www.allmusic.com/album/beat-from-holland-vol-2-mw0000458895) Even apart from all that, it is very uplifting. Girlfriend treating you bad? “I put a rope around my neck. . . . Then I will rest in my coffin, and I don’t have to worry about ya. . . . I will never cry in the night.”

https://hightimes.com/culture/dutch-punk-in-the-1960s/amp/

Bruce Eder gives some history:

The Dutch quintet could have held their own with [the Pretty Things or the Yardbirds] or the Animals without breaking a sweat . . . . Q 65 have remained one of Europe’s best-kept star-caliber musical secrets for more than 30 years.. . . [They] first got together in 1965, in the Hague . . . “the Liverpool of the Netherlands,” with a music scene that had been thriving since the end of the ’50s. . . . The group’s professed influences were American soul acts . . . yet somehow, when they performed, what they played came out closer in form and spirit to the likes of the Pretty Things . . . and the Yardbirds than it did to any of those soul acts, at least at first. . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/q-65-mn0000379341

High Times calls them ugly, slobs, and less intelligible than a New York cab driver, and it means that as a compliment! —

Dutch punks from the ’60s [were] an entire generation of long-haired, kicks-crazed maniacs who invented “punk” . . . . One listen to [Q’65’s] lead vocalist is as good as a thousand when you’re talkin’ about comprehending Wim Bieler’s “command” of the English language. If articulation is your bag, you’d be better off hanging out with a New York cab driver! . . . [T]hese guys are damn ugly. . . . [and] are worshipped on a cult level worldwide largely due to their wild looks and pre-punk approach to playing R&B. In their heyday, they were in direct confrontation with the Outsiders [and there were] fist fights between their opposing fans at shows . . : . Q’65 were total slobs in their aggression; unintelligible forerunners of the Stooges. . . .

“I know you run around. Every time I see you smile. Then I’m happy for awhile. I cry till you come back, or else will kill myself. I put a rope around my neck. Then I will rest in my coffin and I don’t have to worry about ya. There’s a time I feel alright. I will never cry in the night. So walking into my room and I will have no choice. But I can not feel you good. Then I’m sitting with my thoughts. All the sadness that you brought. But I won’t get in the fog. Then I will rest in my coffin, and I don’t have to worry about ya. There’s a time I feel alright. I will never cry in the night.”

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

All new subscribers will receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock magnet. New subscribers who sign up for a year will also receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock t-shirt or baseball cap. See pictures on the Pay to Play page.

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The Humblebums: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 19, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

556) The Humblebums — “Rick Rack”*

A beguiling and unforgettable song by Gerry Rafferty from his Humblebum days that seems informed by his relationship with his abusive father. Alan Murray says that “[w]hen Gerry Rafferty [joined the Humblebums,] . . the songwriting and music leaps to another level. Rick Rack [is] truly memorable”. (https://www.livingtradition.co.uk/webrevs/tecd400.htm)

Stewart Mason notes regarding the album from which the song is drawn:

Rafferty . . . turned the duo’s original trad folk aesthetic into a prettier, poppier sound. . . . That dichotomy continues throughout, with Rafferty’s unapologetically pop songs and Connolly’s folk- and blues-based tunes alternating. Truthfully, Rafferty’s songs are better, with their lightly psychedelic arrangements suiting his whimsical lyrics. . . . [His] six songs . . . are uniformly excellent . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/album/humblebums-mw0000852108

And Dangerous Minds adds:

The New Humblebums . . . began to achieve far greater success with their mix of Rafferty’s plaintive vocals and melodies and Connolly’s upbeat tunes and fine guitar playing. That same year, the duo released their first record together and band’s second album, The New Humblebums. The album was a major-hit in Glasgow and was well-received nationally. . . .

https://dangerousminds.net/comments/when_gerry_rafferty_and_billy_connolly_were_the_humblebums

Steve Huey provides some history of the clan:

Scottish folk outfit the Humblebums aren’t perhaps as well known as their two main individual members: Gerry Rafferty, who later scored hits with Stealers Wheel and as a solo artist, and Billy Connolly, who left music to become an internationally successful stand-up comedian. Conolly actually founded the group in 1965, along with guitarist Tam Harvey; both had been regulars on the Glasgow folk circuit . . . . The duo quickly became a popular attraction in Glasgow’s folk clubs, particularly as Connolly honed his humorous between-song patter . . . . After a few years of local celebrity, the Humblebums recorded their debut album . . . split between traditional folk songs and Connolly originals. Not long after[,] . . budding singer/songwriter . . . Rafferty approached the duo after one of their gigs for feedback on his original songs. He wound up being invited to join . . . . Rafferty’s songs soon took a prominent place in their repertoire, which led to friction with Tam Harvey; he departed around half a year [later]. Toward the end of 1969, [Rafferty and Connolly] entered the studio together and cut the second Humblebums LP . . . . With Rafferty’s pop instincts, the Humblebums grew more popular on the live circuit than ever, and they recorded another album in a similar vein . . . . However, there was growing dissension . . . Rafferty’s material had a more serious bent than Connolly’s lighthearted, dryly witty offerings, and Connelly’s comedy bits were taking up a large portion of the Humblebums’ stage show, to the point where Rafferty wanted him to cut the comedy altogether. . . . [T]he Humblebums broke up in 1971. Rafferty moved on to Stealers Wheel, best known for their hit “Stuck in the Middle With You,” and later went solo, scoring a huge hit with “Baker Street.” Connolly . . . in a few short years became one of the most popular comedians not only in Scotland, but the whole U.K. . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/humblebums-mn0000766545

Michael Gray talks of Rafferty’s childhood:

Rafferty was born in Paisley, near Glasgow, an unwanted third son. His father, Joseph, was an Irish-born miner. His mother . . . dragged young Gerry round the streets on Saturday nights so that they would not be at home when his father came back drunk. They would wait outside, in all weathers, until he had fallen asleep, to avoid a beating. “If it wasn’t for you, I’d leave,” Mary told Gerry. Joseph died in 1963, when Gerry was 16. That year, Gerry left St Mirin’s academy and worked in a butcher’s shop and at the tax office. At weekends, he and a schoolfriend, Joe Egan [with whom he later formed Stealers Wheel] played in a local group, the Mavericks. . . . after Gerry’s song Benjamin Day failed as a Mavericks single, Gerry and Egan quit the group and Gerry joined Connolly’s outfit, the Humblebums . . . .

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/jan/04/gerry-rafferty-obituary

And Seamus Dubhghaill adds:

Inspired by his Scottish mother, who teaches him both Irish and Scottish folk songs, and the music of Bob Dylan and the Beatles, he starts writing his own material. . . . In the mid-1960s Rafferty earns money busking on the London Underground. In 1966 he meets fellow musician Joe Egan and they are both members of the pop band the Fifth Column.

https://seamusdubhghaill.com/tag/the-humblebums/

“Rick rack, rickety rack, see the train go along the track. When I grow up, I want to be an engine driver. But if I can’t be that, I’ll be a deep sea diver. My father says that I must always work on the land. And I never disagreed when I’d see him lift his hand. Mother thinks that I should be a carpenter to trade. That I could fill my house with the things that I had made. Rick rack, rickety rack, see the train go along the track. When I grow up I want to be an engine driver. But if I can’t be that, I’ll be a deep sea diver. I look at the skies, see the birds that can fly, and I feel like crying. Like a bird on the tree, I just want to free, so I’ll keep on trying. Rick rack, rickety rack, see the train go along the track. When I grow up, I want to be an engine driver. But if I can’t be that, I’ll be a deep sea diver. My brother says that I must pay attention at the school. Because I’ve never won a prize, he thinks that I’m a fool. Teacher always asks me why I look so far away. It’s just that I find nothing in the words he has to say. Rick rack, rickety rack, I’m leaving home and I’m never coming back. I’m on my way to be an engine driver. But if I can’t be that, I’ll be a deep sea diver.”

* Rick rack is braided trimming in a zigzag pattern, used as decoration on clothes.

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