Ten Years After — “50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 12, 2023

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

822) Ten Years After — “50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain”

“Love me 50, 000 miles beneath my brain.” A cool number from Ten Years After (see #607) with insanely trippy lyrics. Guitars Exchange — or is it Guitar Sexchange? — calls it “classic psychedelica that floats on the TYA jam approach, which is intensely moody. . . . a trippy song ,definitive of the day.” (https://guitarsexchange.com/en/unplugged/382/ten-years-after-cricklewood-green-1970/) Jim Newsom says that “50,000 Miles” is a “classic[] of TYA’s jam genre, with lyrically meaningless verses setting up extended guitar workouts that build in intensity, rhythmically and sonically.” (https://www.allmusic.com/album/cricklewood-green-mw0000650879)

“50,000 Miles” comes from the album Cricklewood Green, which Newsom says is the “best example of Ten Years After’s recorded sound. . . . [T]he band and engineer Andy Johns mix studio tricks and sound effects, blues-based song structures, a driving rhythm section, and Alvin Lee’s signature lightning-fast guitar licks into a unified album that flows nicely from start to finish.” (https://www.allmusic.com/album/cricklewood-green-mw0000650879)

TYA needs no introduction, but let me quote Mark Deming anyway:

A storming blues and boogie band from the U.K., Ten Years After rocketed from modest success to worldwide fame in the wake of their performance at the Woodstock Rock Festival in 1969, where their nine-minute rendition of “I’m Going Home” showed off the lightning-fast guitar work and howling vocals of Alvin Lee, the unrelenting stomp of bassist Leo Lyons and drummer Ric Lee, and the soulful support of keyboard man Chick Churchill. While the group was also capable of moody pop and acoustic-based material (as heard on 1971’s A Space in Time, whose single “I’d Like to Change the World” was their greatest American hit), it was the group’s raw blues-based music that remained their trademark . . . .

[The band’s name] refer[s] to the fact they launched . . . in 1966, ten years after Elvis Presley’s career breakthrough opened the doors for rock & roll.

[They] gigg[ed] steadily, including holding down a residency at London’s Marquee Club, and in 1967, after an appearance at the Windsor Jazz Festival earned praise in the music press, the quartet signed a record deal with Deram . . . . It would cement their reputation for decades to come when their rendition of “I’m Going Home” appeared in the 1970 documentary about the [Woodstock] festival . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/ten-years-after-mn0000020050/biography

You owe it to yourself to read Hugh Fielder’s hilarious and heartbreaking article on, and series of interviews with the members of, TYA. Here are some excerpts:

Ten Years After had been in the vanguard of the second (heavier) invasion of the US by British groups, touring relentlessly and rapidly reaching top-of-the-bill status. “We had this thing – and looking back I’m a bit ashamed of it now – that we had to sting any band that went on after us,” Alvin recalls. “We used to go out of our way to blow them off and make them look bad. It wasn’t so much playing well as going down well; we’d learnt that from our years on the club circuit. And there were a lot of bands in America who wouldn’t go on after us. At Woodstock, Country Joe whipped his equipment on before us because he’d played after us at the Fillmore East and died a death.” . . .

Leo[] . . . reveals the secret of TYA’s vigorous live shows: “Ric and I egged each other on when we flagged. I’d yell: ‘Hit ’em, you bastard!’ And he’d shout back: ‘F*ck off.’” Leo would also spur Ric on by spitting at him – anticipating the punk movement by a decade – but the drummer never minded “because he always missed”. Riding the crest of this high-energy wave, Alvin would sneer and pout outrageously as he tore through solo after solo. Even on the slower songs his bursts of notes seemed faster than mere human fingers could manage. . . .

But behind the bravado . . . was another, more insecure Alvin who couldn’t handle the superstar status that the Woodstock movie had bestowed on the group: “We’d been playing for the heads, the growing underground audience,” he recounts. “But then it got bigger, and people had to come to ice hockey arenas and stadiums to see the band. And we lost any contact with the audience. . . . I often wonder what the rest of our career would have been like if the Woodstock movie had used another song.” . . .

In June 1968 Ten Years After started a seven-week US tour at the Fillmore West: “That first tour was great,” Alvin recalls. “We had such a good time out there. We lost around $35,000, but we got asked back so we knew we were on the way. The strange thing was that we had gone to what I considered to be the home of the blues but they’d never heard of most of them. I couldn’t believe it – ‘Big Bill who?’ We were recycling American music and they were calling it the English sound. . . .

Led Zeppelin also turned up to check out the competition. In Richard Cole’s notorious Stairway To Heaven . . . the former Zeppelin tour manager relates how Jimmy Page was awestruck by Alvin’s playing. Much to the annoyance of an inebriated John Bonham who suddenly lurched forward and threw a glass of orange juice over Alvin’s guitar, slowing up his fingerwork as the strings and fretboard got stickier.

https://www.loudersound.com/features/the-story-of-ten-years-after-from-woodstock-to-the-world

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Taos — “20,000 Miles in the Air Again”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 11, 2023

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

822) Taos — “20,000 Miles in the Air Again”

A Taos, NM commune gives us this “phased psychedelic boogie” (Nik, http://therisingstorm.net/taos-taos/) from an LP of “mellow, unpretentious, good-natured rural rock. . . . catchy, with sweet vocal harmonies. . . . [b]lending acoustic and electric guitars with loads of tambourines.” (Adamus67, http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2012/10/taos-taos-1971-us-beautiful-psychedelic.html)

As to Taos, the group, Nik tells us:

Here’s an unusual jewel, released on Mercury Records in 1971. The band Taos was actually a quintet pieced together by a group of young men who had moved to the legendary Taos commune in the early 1970s, namely: Jeff Baker on guitar and vocals, Steve Oppenheim on keyboards and vocals, Albie Ciappa on drums, Burt Levine on guitar and banjo, and Kit Bedford on bass . . . . If the band’s commune connection leads you into expecting some sort of stoned, improvisational musical meanderings, however, you’re in for a surprise: their sole, self-titled record is pop music all the way. Indeed, the band itself is surprisingly together, tempering mildly eccentric diversions into psychedelia and country music with a solid foundation in 1960s rock and roll. . . . [T]he music here is almost too much fun to criticize. Again, this is pop music, and should be enjoyed for what it is.

http://therisingstorm.net/taos-taos/

Adamus67 adds that:

As the hippie dream turned ugly at the end of the 60s, plenty of folks decided to get out of the city & get back to basics. A huge commune in Taos, New Mexico called New Buffalo that was home to these fellas, and by 70 they were making laid back, slightly nerdy country rock with Byrds harmonies. The album was from 1968/1969. Lost U.S. rural rock gem, originally released in 1/1/1969 . . . (promo copy).

http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2012/10/taos-taos-1971-us-beautiful-psychedelic.html

Burt Levine himself (I think) tells us:

Hi, this is Burt from Taos. We were there in 1968/1969, while the communes and ‘Easy Rider’ were going on. The locals would take pot shots at us and burned down the movie theater where we played a free gig for the residents. We were being watched and filmed by the FBI. We were all love and peace living in Nature’s Glory, but the population around us was often savage. When we left to go on tour, the house we were living in was burned down.

http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2012/10/taos-taos-1971-us-beautiful-psychedelic.html

Not sure if all that was real or an acid flashback, but mesmerizing in either case!

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Almond Lettuce — “Twenty Weary Miles”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 10, 2023

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

820) Almond Lettuce — “Twenty Weary Miles”

A delightful, rollicking music hall-y number by a totally obscure British band that gets no respect. Vernon Joynson says that the band released “two awful singles [that] are often described as psychedelic but seem far from it” (The Tapestry of Delights Revisited). 23 Daves sort of maybe likes the song, calling it “another absurdity . . . which contains deliberate flat notes and disorientating subtle key changes and missed beats, and takes more than one listen to settle into. It’s not exactly Kevin Shields styled stuff, but it’s certainly interesting.” (http://left-and-to-the-back.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-almond-lettuce-tree-dog-song-to.html)

As to the Lettuce:

“An obscure outfit . . . . rumoured to have come from Southhampton . . . . Keyboard player Ron Jones is the only name connected with the group having written most of their released material [two singles] and so far, this group has also been found to be in no way connected to Bitter Almond who appeared in 1970 and ’71. (liner notes to the CD comp Piccadilly Sunshine: Volumes 1-10: A Compendium of Rare Pop Curios From the British Psychedelic Era)

Oh, and Jack King says that Almond Lettuce was “the resident band in a pub Called the Ramouth Tavern on the corner of Raymouth Road and Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey in the 1960’s . A great night out, really noisey and crowded.” (http://left-and-to-the-back.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-almond-lettuce-tree-dog-song-to.html)

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Soul Inc. — “60 Miles High”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 9, 2023

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

810) Soul Inc. — “60 Miles High”

On this ’67 B-side, the Louisville sluggers go “a full 52 miles higher than The Byrds”! — (happening45, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fJPzmqrjg0) with this “jangly mid-tempo dose of hip psych” (Tony Sanchez (with the help of Mike Stax), liner notes to the CD comp Tony the Tyger Presents . . . Fuzz, Flaykes, & Shakes: Vol. 1: 60 Miles High). They “didn’t have a sitar, but . . . [did] ha[ve] a banjo, and with a touch of reverb and the combination of a somewhat Indian-sounding scale with a repeated ‘drone’ note . . . gave [the song] a decidedly Eastern color.” (Rick Mattingly, http://groovymusicinc.com/groovymusicinc/soulinc/history.htm)

Rick Mattingly tells us of the band:

Drummer Marvin Maxwell was working on the assembly line at the Conn Organ factory . . . in March, 1965 when he was summoned to the foreman’s office to take a phone call. It was guitarist Wayne Young, telling Maxwell that their band, Soul, Inc., had just been hired to join Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars tour. They were expected to start work that very night. . . . [where they] opened the show with a couple of R&B numbers and then served as the backup band for Lou Christi, Round Robin, the Tradewinds, Reparata & the Delrons and Louise Harrison (sister of Beatle George Harrison) in front of thousands of screaming rock ‘n’ roll fans. It was Soul, Inc.’s first gig. The individual members, however, had a wealth of experience from playing in other Louisville bands. . . . Soul, Inc. [was] one of Louisville’s most influential bands of the 1960s . . . . [It] did a second Dick Clark tour in November of 1965 . . . . [which] included the Byrds, We Five, Paul Revere & The Raiders, and Bo Diddley. . . . Paul Revere & The Raiders vocalist Mark Lindsey declared that his two favorite bands were the Beatles and Soul, Inc. [The band] became so popular in Louisville that [packages] of Southern Star hotdogs contained a coupon inside that could be redeemed for a Soul, Inc. single: “Poppin’ Good.” . . . . Soul, Inc. lost its horn section. . . . [and] with musical trends changing . . . elected to replace [it] with another guitarist and invited Frank Bugbee to join . . . . Soul, Inc.’s English influence had a lot more to do with the Rolling Stones than the Beatles. “The Beatles sounded too white to us,” Young says. “We had always tried to sound black, which is where the Stones were coming from, too.” Maxwell adds that Soul, Inc. identified strongly with the Rolling Stones’ “bad boy” image. . . . Soul, Inc.’s aggressive attitude was evident on their . . . single, “Stronger Than Dirt,” a song inspired by a TV commercial for Ajax [with “60 Miles High” the B-side]. The song did quite well on the Louisville charts, reaching number one in the summer of 1967. Soul, Inc. had developed good relationships with several Louisville DJs who often emceed their local shows. . . .

http://groovymusicinc.com/groovymusicinc/soulinc/history.htm

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Mitch Ryder — “I Believe (There Must Be Someone)”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 8, 2023

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

818) Mitch Ryder — “I Believe (There Must Be Someone)

Truly great blue eyed soul from the Motor City’s Mitch Ryder. Ryder has been inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame (https://rbhalloffamemarksms.com/inductees/) and not the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, started out singing “with a local Black quartet dubbed the Peps as a teen, but suffered so much racial harassment that he soon left the group”. (Jason Ankeny, https://www.allmusic.com/artist/mitch-ryder-mn0000483270/biography) By the way, the harassment was from white audiences. Ryder recalls that:

The only difficulty we had was with the white audiences. The black audiences seemed to embrace it. I don’t know how it worked, but I remember really distinctly, a really nice lady coming up to me and saying, “Oh, you sing so pretty … and you’re so light.” I’m going, “Ooh, light? Lady, you don’t know the half of it.”

http://www.popcultureclassics.com/mitch_ryder.html

The song is from Ryder’s ’69 album The Detroit-Memphis Experiment. Joe Viglione writes that:

Mitch Ryder’s voice is in great shape as Steve Cropper takes over the production reigns from industry legend Bob Crewe. . . . [T]he music is truly the voice from Detroit meeting the sound of Memphis. . . . There is a maturity to Mitch Ryder’s voice here — his performance on this disc perhaps a cross between the early hits and the ballads Crewe had him singing later on. It is very, well, refined for this rock/blues combo. . . . Booker T & the MGs featuring Mitch Ryder, which is what this record is, simply delivers a no-nonsense one-two punch of good music. . . . It is great music, but there was no business person to deliver a hit single from this excellent collection. Maybe if someone with Bob Crewe’s drive had supervised the work . . . there would be a greater appreciation for this landmark recording. . . . [T]hat’s what this is, the great undiscovered Mitch Ryder party album.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-detroit-memphis-experiment-mw0000748568

Ryder recalls:

[T]he choice they gave me was [Booker T & the MGs in Memphis] or Jeff Barry in L.A. I said, “Hmm, I’ll go South.” Which, in more ways than one, I guess I did. The whole country then was going psychedelic and here I am, with still some name power, and I decide to do an R&B album. [Laughs].

http://www.popcultureclassics.com/mitch_ryder.html

As to Ryder, Jason Ankeny writes that:

The unsung heart and soul of the Motor City rock & roll scene, Mitch Ryder was simply one of the most powerful vocalists to rise to fame in the ’60s, a full-bodied rock belter who was also one of the most credible blue-eyed soul men of his generation. He first made a nationwide impression fronting Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, whose fiery R&B attack boasted a gritty passion and incendiary energy matched by few artists on either side of the color line. After exploding onto the charts in 1966 and 1967 with singles like “Jenny Take a Ride” and “Devil with a Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly,” Ryder went solo on the advice of producer Bob Crewe, though albums like 1967’s What Now My Love and 1969’s The Detroit-Memphis Experiment [disagree!] lacked the fire of the Detroit Wheels hits and didn’t fare as well on the charts. . . . Born William Levise, . . [he] form[ed] his own combo, Billy Lee & the Rivieras. While opening for the Dave Clark Five during a 1965 date,  the Rivieras came to the attention of producer Bob Crewe, who immediately signed the group and, according to legend, rechristened the singer Mitch Ryder after randomly selecting the name from a phone book. Backed by the peerless Detroit Wheels — Ryder reached the Top Ten in early 1966 with “Jenny Take a Ride”; the single, a frenzied combination of Little Richard’s “Jenny Jenny” and Chuck Willis’ “C.C. Rider,” remains one of the quintessential moments in blue-eyed soul, its breathless intensity setting the tone for the remainder of the band’s output. [They] . . . scor[ed] their biggest hit that autumn with the Top Five smash “Devil with a Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly.” “Sock It to Me Baby!” followed in early 1967, but at Crewe’s insistence, Ryder soon split from the rest of the band to mount a solo career. The move proved disastrous — outside of the Top 30 entry “What Now My Love,” the hits quickly and permanently dried up. . . . [Ryder] return[ed] home [with] a new seven-piece hard rock band known simply as Detroit. The group’s lone LP, a self-titled effort issued in 1971, remains a minor classic, yielding a major FM radio hit with its cover of Lou Reed’s “Rock and Roll” that was praised by Reed himself.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/mitch-ryder-mn0000483270/biography

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Big Jim Sullivan — “Translove Airways (Fat Angel)”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 7, 2023

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

817) Big Jim Sullivan — “Translove Airways (Fat Angel)”

Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan were the two towering session guitarists of Swinging London. Big Jim also mastered the sitar and recorded two albums of sitar-ploitation headswirlers (see #217). On this ‘67 album track/‘68 B-side, he takes us on a flight on Donovan’s “Translove Airways”.

Ritchie Unterberger says of the album (Sitar Beat) that:

Top British session guitarist Jim Sullivan was not a novice to the sitar when he recorded this instrumental album in 1968, having studied it seriously and established himself as the only non-Indian session musician who could play the instrument on U.K. recordings. The record still sounds like rather cheesy East-meets-West à go-go, though.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/sitar-beat-mw0000459647

Consider me a sucker for rather cheesy East-meets-West a go-go!

As Bruce Eder tells us, Sullivan then did another sitar album: “Sullivan had already recorded a whole album of sitar-based music entitled Sitar Beat for Mercury Records . . . when someone at Regal Zonophone — an imprint of EMI . . . decided that they needed an album to cash in on the boom . . . . Thus was born ‘Lord Sitar[]’”. (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/lord-sitar-mn0000278270)

Progarchives tells us about Sullivan and the sitar:

In 1965 Big Jim Sullivan took his first lesson on the Sitar from a Professor at a London College of Ethnic Music. Going to a music school must have been a novel idea as Big Jim had been playing guitar on sessions since 1957, resulting in his presence on more UK hits than anyone else. His tuition was also taken from a famous Indian player who had been studying for many years (the first two years in India are spent solely on the Tabla before they touch a Sitar) and gave Jim the necessary insight to be a creditable player. The result was Jim being asked to record even more sessions as the Sitar became a de rigeur instrument on virtually all mid 60’s rock pop records. He taught Jimmy Page, took his Sitar over to George Harrison’s Esher pad to enlighten the Beatle. So we come to 1967 and Mercury Records decide to cash in on the raga craze and take from Big Jim an entire LPs worth of where Sitar met Rock. The contents are a perfect blend of late 60’s pop with the Tabla & Sitar sound and arrangements.

http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=2756

Dave Laing tells us about Sullivan:

The sound of British pop music in the 1960s was largely the creation of unsung recording-session musicians who accompanied the solo singers of the era and were frequently enlisted to improve the efforts of well-known pop groups. The principal guitarists of this elite team were Jimmy Page . . . and Big Jim Sullivan . . . . Sullivan played on more than 50 British No 1 hits . . . . [B]orn Jim Tomkins . . . [he took] up the guitar at 14[,] gravitated towards the Soho haunts of skiffle and rock’n’roll, and in 1958 joined Marty Wilde’s backing group, the Wildcats. . . . In 1960, Sullivan and fellow guitarist Joe Brown joined the British tour of the American rock stars Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent. Although the tour ended in tragedy when Cochran was killed in a car crash, the young British players had by then learned the secrets of the authentic rock’n’roll style from him . . . . Sullivan was a pioneer of guitar technologies such as the wah-wah pedal, the fuzzbox and the talkbox, and later recalled that the older generation of musicians, schooled in the style of the dance bands, called him the Electric Monster, “because I made the guitar scream and groan when I bent and pulled the strings”. . . . For more than a decade, Sullivan played three three-hour sessions a day at studios in London. He . . . calculated that about 1,000 tracks on which he played had entered the British charts. Between 1969 and 1974, Sullivan combined session work with membership of Tom Jones’s band . . . .

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/oct/03/big-jim-sullivan

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Syd Dale — “The Hell Raisers”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 6, 2023

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

816) Syd Dale — “The Hell Raisers”

The great British music library composer Syd Dale (see #395), an NFL films go-to, gives us a tune hell-raisin’ enough to be the theme of a 60’s sexploitation flick, Doris Wishman’s 1966 film Another Day. Another Man. Frank Fob2 tells us that:

A young couple move into an expensive new apartment after the husband gets a big pay raise. Unfortunately, he is soon stricken with a mysterious ailment and becomes bedridden. The wife, unable to find a job and with bills piling up, runs into a seedy pimp who suggests a way she may be able to make a lot of money in a short time.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060111/

As to Syd, IMDb informs us that:

Syd Dale was born . . . in York, England, UK. . . . [One] of his many production music pieces, the bongo drum and harpsichord-driven “Cuban Presto” (originally released on the 1966 KPM album Accent on Percussion), was used by WPIX (Channel 11) in New York City as the theme for its late-night movie show, The Channel 11 Film Festival, from the late 1960s to the 1980s. . . . His music is still used in productions today. For example, his “Beauty Parade” was used in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode “Spy Buddies” . . . . His music played an important role on TV, radio and advertising media of the 1960s and 1970s . . . . He was an English self-taught composer and arranger of funk, easy listening, and library music. His music . . . was composed for many television and radio projects. . . . [and] widely used by NFL Films over some four decades; his track “Artful Dodger” is given prominent use in such films as the official film recapping Super Bowl V. In 1967, he created a piece entitled Walk and Talk, which . . . appeared in the 1967 ABC television animated series Spider-Man along with many other Dale library tracks. . . . Dale started as an apprentice technician at Rowntree’s chocolate factory at 16. Soon big band music became his passion.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0960777/bio/?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

Here is the trailer:

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Alessandro Alessandroni — “Bandidos”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 5, 2023

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

815) Alessandro Alessandroni — “Bandidos”

Spaghetti western ecstasy from a friend and collaborator of Ennio Morricone — from the 1967 movie Bandidos directed by Massimo Dallamano as Max Dillmann. (https://www.discogs.com/release/2578148-Egisto-Macchi-Bandidos-Colonna-Sonora-Originale)

As Tom Seldon tells us, in the movie:

Renowned gunman Richard Martin is traveling on a train, held up by Billy Kane, a former student of Martin’s. Kane spares Martin, but only after shooting his hands. Years later, Martin meets an escaped convict, wrongly convicted for the train robbery. Martin trains his new student and both men seek out Billy Kane.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062706/

As to Alessandroni, Bruce Eder writes that:

By his early thirties, he was making a living touring Germany as a singer, pianist, and guitarist, and he later formed a group in Rome called the Four Caravels whose sound was modeled on the work of the Four Freshmen . . . . Alessandroni was soon to become one of the busier session musicians in Italy . . . . During the early ’60s, [he] crossed paths professionally with a slightly younger former boyhood friend, Ennio Morricone, who, after a few years as a musician working in jazz clubs, had begun to emerge in the field of movie music. Morricone had just scored his first Western and was working on another, and wanted to add some new sounds to his work. Alessandroni’s guitar and his abilities as a whistler came to the fore on the resulting score for Guns Don’t Argue . . . . But that success was merely a toe in the water in terms of their collaboration — Morricone had another project in the pipeline, called A Fistful of Dollars (1964), a Western that was anything but traditional, and it was here that Alessandroni began collaborating with him in the making of some much more important music, and utilizing far more of his range as a guitarist as well. With a lonely, echo-drenched whistle over a repetitive guitar figure, with added flutes, whip-cracks, and Alessandroni’s Duane Eddy-style electric guitar coming in along with a wordless male chorus — courtesy of Alessandroni’s vocal group, now expanded to a dozen or more members and renamed I Cantori Moderni — the haunting title track redefined the sound of Western movie music. . . . Alessandroni subsequently worked with Morricone on most of the latter’s Western scores of the period . . . . He was all over the main title theme for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/alessandro-alessandroni-mn0000623589/biography

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s the whole movie:

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The Fallen Angels — “I’ll Drive You From My Mind”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 4, 2023

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

814) The Fallen Angels “I’ll Drive You From My Mind”

I can’t drive this “haunting” (https://psychedelic-rocknroll.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-fallen-angels-its-long-way-down.html?m=1) slab of psych from my mind. It is the album’s “creepiest number . . . [with] dark shadows, whispered vocals, and splashes of sitar”. (Dave Furgess, https://www.headheritage.co.uk/unsung/review/1714/) As to the LP, Jason says:

[It] a minor masterpiece . . . . the so-called Sgt. Pepper of Washington D.C. Just think of the Left Banke, late night, stoned and producing some serious outsider music. . . . is a killer unknown 60’s album with a lot of great psych moves.

https://therisingstorm.net/the-fallen-angels-its-a-long-way-down/

Patrick Lundborg adds that:

From the depths of despair and angst comes this masterpiece, a howling wail of pain and discomfort embedded in a sophisticated studio effort that sounds like nothing else. Somewhere in here are elements of loner folk, Beach Boys-style pop and psychedelia, but all are used in a unique way that makes this as personal an album as I know . . . . Great songwriting and inventive arrangements throughout. . . . A truly great album . . . .

The Acid Archives (2nd Ed.)

As to the Angels, Dave Furgess tells us:

The[] Fallen Angels were a great psychedelic group who were based in the Baltimore, Maryland-Washington D.C. area and recorded two full length albums for Roulette Records. . . . The . . . debut album failed to cause much attention at the record shops and was quickly deleted. Usually this would have meant certain death to a group like The Fallen Angels. However the good folks at Roulette decided to give the group a second shot and they were even afforded the luxury of complete artistic control. This all resulted in the group’s stunning second album “It’s A Long Way Down” (which sadly suffered the same fate as the group’s debut sales-wise despite it’s obvious quality and inventiveness.) . . . . an exceptional album . . . . that actually lives up to the hype.

https://www.headheritage.co.uk/unsung/review/1714/

Psychedelic Rock N’ Roll adds:

Realizing the futility of trying to control this band, Roulette Records allowed “The Fallen Angels” almost total artistic freedom in the production of their second album . . . . The group’s efforts resulted in what many listeners of the Psychedelic genre consider a masterpiece. . . . Although the album was an artistic triumph, “Roulette Records”‘s promotional campaign was practically non-existent. With no top ten hits, “The Fallen Angels” were unceremoniously dropped from the label. Relegated to the status of local legends, “The Fallen Angels” continued creating and performing original music in the Washington D.C. area until the fall of 1969 when the group disbanded. . . . [T]he February 1972 issue of Stereo Review, music critic Joel Vance wrote an insightful article entitled “The Fragmentation Of Rock”, which analyzed the problem of developing new talent in the industry. To illustrate the overwhelming odds against succeeding, he states:
“The Fallen Angels, for example, a remarkable band from Washington, D.C., put out two astonishing albums for Roulette Records in 1967/68. But they never made it, even though they were far better than most American groups of the time”.

https://psychedelic-rocknroll.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-fallen-angels-its-long-way-down.html?m=1

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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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Edwards Hand — “Hello America”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 3, 2023

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

813) Edwards Hand* — “Hello America”

The melody and arrangement of this amazing song by the UK psychsters (see #151, 663) is a total rip-off of Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America”! Wait a second, this song came in ‘70 and “Coming” came in ‘80! I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

And I’ll note that a song with lyrics about America such as “You have so much to give” and “I’d really love to see you live” is on an album whose original cover art was pulled by the label in the U.S.:

The line drawing [cover art] of a Southern Sheriff, ties in with the lyrics of Sheriff Myras Lincoln – a song about an American racist policeman – and was subsequently banned and replaced with different artwork by RCA in the US. . . . [It is] a controversial caricature . . . by “Revolver” Beatles artist/friend Klaus Voorman. This artwork was banned by the US label and was subsequently replaced with different artwork on the original US pressing of the album.  

Marios, http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2012/06/edwards-hand-stranded-1970-uk-wonderful.html?m=1

Marios goes on:

Having worked with George Martin on their self titled debut, Edward’s Hand began recording at Morgan Studios in 1970, attempting to create a harder and more progressive sound than before. There where no nervous second album vibes here! The album is comprised of evocative and intelligent progressive pop songs immaculately produced featuring Edward’s and Hand’s distinctive harmonies to the fore. The second half of the album is effectively a concept of alienation and isolation . . . . Clearly more confident and adventurous lyrically on this album, Edward’s Hand also had more time with George Martin during the pre-production stages. This preparation time, an intelligent lyric writing team and George’s complex yet concise orchestral arrangements give their second LP a much worldlier and unique feel. . . . It features some stunning string arrangements by George Martin from the first sessions to be mixed at his then new Air Studios.

http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2012/06/edwards-hand-stranded-1970-uk-wonderful.html?m=1

For more on Edwards and Hand, see #663 and 806.

* Just to set the record straight, Johnny Depp was not in this band! It was not Edward Scissorhands. The band members were Rod Edwards and Roger Hand. Get it?!

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Here’s Neil:

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Milton Kelley — “Small Town Boy”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 2, 2023

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

812) Milton Kelley — “Small Town Boy”

Timeless and touching ’70 folk-rock straight outta the legendary Two:Dot studios in Ojai [California]. The song sounds like it could have been written yesterday. Worth Point calls Kelley’s album Home Brew “a blend of folk/psych & country from the hippie folks in Ojai California” (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/milton-kelley-home-brew-org-folk-152258212) and Popsike.com says that there are only a “[s]upposed 400 copies known”. (https://www.popsike.com/Milton-Kelleys-Home-Brew-Cowboy-Psych-Peyote-Pete-Two-Dot-Private-CA-Ojai-NM/131573813641.html)

As to the label and the Brew, Slipcue tells us that:

The Two:Dot label from Ojai, California was named for their initials of its founders (Tom W. Oglesby and Dean O. Thompson) and is one of those legendarily obscure microlabels that uber-collectors salivate over… This LP . . . [is] a hippiedelic blues-roots kinda thing, recorded on the spur of the moment with singer-songwriter Milton Kelley and a few other Ojai locals.

https://www.slipcue.com/music/country/countrystyles/hippiebilly/K_01.html

Mark Lewis tells us much more:

These days, a copy of “Home Brew” that’s still in decent shape will go for hundreds of dollars on eBay — and a sealed, never-played copy might fetch $3,500. . . . The long-vanished [Two:Dot] studio is barely remembered in Ojai [California], but it’s now world famous among collectors of obscure rock albums from the ’60s and early ’70s. Cultish websites make gushing references to the “legendary” Two:Dot, that mythical place where “mega-rare” albums . . . were created. Enthusiasts in Europe and Japan will offer big bucks for vinyl rarities recorded in that converted garage — albums hardly anyone bought when they first came out. . . .

Libbey Bowl was . . . [a] popular venue for local musicians. It was there, early in the summer of 1970, that Dean Thompson met Milton Kelley. . . . Kelley was a singer-songwriter who had grown up in Ojai and was now back in town after serving a tour in Vietnam. He was part of the musical line-up . . . that day, and Dean liked what he heard. “Dean was there recording some live stuff,” Kelley says. “He came up and said, ‘Hey, man, I’ve got a recording studio up on the hill. You should come up and do an album.’ ” The result of that conversation was “Milton Kelley’s Home Brew,” released on the Two:Dot label. . . . Dean was the engineer and the genial host. . . . “We printed 400 LPs and sold every one,” Kelley says. . . .

[A]n astonished Milton Kelley was informed that a pristine copy of “Home Brew” was now worth its weight in gold, and then some. (Alas, Kelley was not in a position to cash in. He has only one copy left, and it’s been played a lot.)

http://ojaihistory.com/groovy-history-ojais-twodot-studio/ (originally published in the Summer 2012 edition of the Ojai Quarterly)

Oh, and the little studio in an Adobe mud brick house had a 16 track recorder before the Beatles did! (Mark Lewis, http://ojaihistory.com/groovy-history-ojais-twodot-studio/, originally published in the Summer 2012 edition of the Ojai Quarterly)

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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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Neo Maya/Episode Six — “I Won’t Hurt You”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 1, 2023

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

811) Neo Maya/Episode Six — “I Won’t Hurt You”

If great songs deserve convoluted tales, this pop psych gem, spooky and unforgettable, has got one. The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (see #197, 488) recorded two great versions of the song, and then Neo Maya came along and recorded the definitive version, adding a killer female backing chorus and unexpected bursts of horn. Neo? No, I’m not talking The Matrix! The song was laid down by the British group Episode Six (Neo Maya being a pseudonym for member Graham Carter-Dimmock).

Let’s start with WCPAEB and their first version. Stewart Mason writes that:

[It’s] a small gem of lightly psychedelicized folk-rock. Bracketed by double-tracked and highly reverbed 12-string guitars that keep threatening to break into the Searchers’ version of “Needles and Pins,” Shaun Harris’ delicate voice delivers the heartfelt lyrics in an unpretentious, charming way. It’s all rather slight, but it’s really kind of pretty and sweet and nice, and there’s a place for that in pop music.

https://www.allmusic.com/song/i-wont-hurt-you-mt0007746936

Happycyclings tells us that the song comes from the band’s LP “Vol. 1, originally issued in 1966 on the tiny ‘FIFO’ label, which was a Hollywood concern specializing mainly in R&B. Probably only 100 or so were ever made.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLDR-LFhhSw)

Then came the second version, on Part One, the band’s debut LP for Reprise. Richie Unterberger says of the album and the song that:

The[ir] first album for Reprise was the best of the group’s career, in large part because it was the most song-oriented. It was still plenty weird, almost to the point of stylistic schizophrenia, but when you got down to it, much of the record was comprised of fairly catchy songs in the neighborhood of two and three minutes. . . . There was an undercurrent of unsettling weirdness and even paranoia, though, in some cuts with otherwise pleasing tunes, like . . . “I Won’t Hurt You,” with its heartbeat bass and disconnected vocals . . . .

[It is a] pretty psych-pop tune[] with a bizarre edge . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/album/part-one-mw0000010251, https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-west-coast-pop-art-experimental-band-vol-1-mw0000615660

As to the album, Round and Round Records says that “[t]his fantastic 196[7] set remains one of the very best albums from the psychedelic era”. (https://roundandroundrecords.com/products/the-west-coast-pop-art-experimental-band-part-one-lp?variant=42036268925183)

OK, the acclaim was not unanimous. Stewart Mason opines that:

Unfortunately, the [WCPAEB] chose to remake “I Won’t Hurt You” for their 1967 Reprise debut, Volume One, and basically ruined the song by adding discordant percussion and a bass pattern that’s supposed to sound like a heartbeat, plus [Shaun] Harris now sings the lyrics in a halting, disconnected monotone. It’s a pretentious, self-consciously “weird” adaptation of a song that didn’t need to be messed with in the first place.

https://www.allmusic.com/song/i-wont-hurt-you-mt0007746936

And Altrockchick calls the album “breathtakingly uneven . . . with a few lovely splashes of post-Rubber Soul melodic pop unable to cover the smell of some of the stinkiest crap you’ll ever smell on record. . . . Anyone trying to spin Part One into a psychedelic masterpiece is either stoned or stone deaf.” (https://altrockchick.com/2014/06/17/classic-music-review-part-one-by-the-west-coast-pop-art-experimental-band/?amp=1). Well, call me stoned and stone deaf!

Who were WCPAEB? Tim Forster tells the tale:

After seeing the Yardbirds play at a hip Hollywood party, teenage hopefuls Shaun and Danny Harris and Michael Lloyd found themselves locked into a Faustian pact with the host, eccentric millionaire Bob Markley. The deal? He would promote their band and buy expensive equipment if they let him bang a tambourine on stage. According to Lloyd, music was the last thing on Markley’s mind. “He had seen the incredible amount of girls that thought rock and roll was really cool and that was his only motivation.” . . . Bob . . . acquir[ed] an impressive state-of-the-art light show, book[ed] the band into trendy local venues . . . and financ[ed] the release of . . . their debut LP . . . . Better still, he used his society contacts to swing them a prestigious three album deal with . . . Reprise. But things swiftly took a turn fo the worse. . . . Markley had already saddled the band with their ludicrously cumbersome moniker. Soon it emerged that he had registered the name instead of the group’s . . . members — enabling him to replace anyone he chose– as well as channeling all of the publishing and other potential royalties through his own company . . . . [I]t wasn’t long before Bob began demanding more creative input. As Shaun ruefully recalls: “The part that was frustrating was that he had no musical aptitude of any kind and so what he was trying to do to be different and innovative . . . was an embarassment.”

liner notes to the CD reissue of Part One

And Mark Deming adds:

In 1962, the [Harris] family relocated to Los Angeles and the Harris Brothers joined a local rock band called the Snowmen . . . . Danny and Shaun attended the same high school as Michael Lloyd . . . in another, more successful local group called the Rogues; Shaun was recruited to join the Rogues . . . and soon Michael, Shaun and Danny began working together on music of their own. They . . . cut a handful of fine singles under the name the Laughing Wind [and became] acquainted with noted L.A. producer and scenester Kim Fowley [who] introduced the band to Bob Markley, the Oklahoma-born son of a wealthy oil tycoon who had . . . ambitions of making a name for himself in music, having released an unsuccessful single for Reprise Records. . . . Markley was impressed by the attention the band received from the audience of music business insiders and teenage girls, and decided he wanted to form a band rather than work as a solo act. [He] liked the Laughing Wind well enough that he made them an offer . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-west-coast-pop-art-experimental-band-mn0000482572/biography

Ah, so it’s all Fowley’s (see #89, 449) fault!

Let’s skip to Episode Six. Richie Unterberger tells us that:

Most famous for including bassist Roger Glover and singer Ian Gillan before they joined Deep Purple, Episode Six managed to release no less than nine British singles between 1966 and 1969 without coming close to a hit record or establishing a solid identity. Also prominently featuring organist/singer Sheila Carter-Dimmock, the group’s 1966-1967 singles were rather light pop/rock harmony numbers, with an occasional ballad and a bit of a soul influence. Light years removed from Deep Purple, Episode Six was nothing if not eclectic in their choice of material, trying their hands at numbers by the Hollies, the Beatles, the Tokens, and Charles Aznavour, as well as a British hot-rod tune (written by Glover). While their repertoire lacked focus, their singles were actually pleasant and their fine cover of Tim Rose’s “Morning Dew” would have been a deserving hit. In 1967, they began to fuse pop and psychedelia with reasonably impressive results, especially the single “I Can See Through You” (written by Glover), one of the finest British psychedelic obscurities. Their final two singles showed the band going in a much more progressive direction and anticipating some of the most indulgent art rock of the ’70s with “Mozart Versus the Rest,” which assaulted one of the composer’s most famous riffs with manic electric guitars. Episode Six folded in 1969, after Gillan and Glover had joined Deep Purple.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/episode-six-mn0000662154/biography

And Vernon Joynson adds:

“[Drummer] Harvey Shields left the band to form a duo with a belly dancer he’d met during their spell in Beirut. He was replaced by John Kerrison. The first recording by the new line-up was actually a single, I Won’t Hurt You, credited to Neo Maya . . . . Since no one had heard of Neo Maya very few people bought it”. . . .In April 1969 the band entered the studeo to begin recording tracks for a long-delayed album . . . but it wasn’t to be. Ian Gillan was lured away to replace Deep Purple’s departing vocalist Rod Evans and Roger Glover joined . . . a few days later.

The Tapestry of Delights Revisited

Here is WCPAEB version #1:

Here is version #2:

Here are the Pop Art Toasters, with a quite good version from ’94:

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Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise

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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The Millennium: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 30, 2023

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

810) The Millennium — “5 A.M.”

Sunshine pop* went supernova with the Millennium (see #397, 506, 586, 662), a 60’s sunshine supergroup that created Begin, the greatest sunshine pop album ever recorded. Begin cost more to make than any other album from ’68 other than The Beatles (the White Album)— and no one buys it (at least until era of CD reissues). As Richie Unterberger writes, it was “at once too unabashedly commercial for underground FM radio and too weird for the AM dial.” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-millennium-mn0000814312)

Sandy Salisbury wrote the album’s “5 A.M.”, an utterly wonderful number that “is so seductive that we forget all our problems (poof evaporated!)”. (DoubleZ, https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/91645-begin/) Matthew Greenwald says:

An unexpected Top Ten hit in the Philippines, of all places, “5 A.M.” went on to become the closest thing to fame that the Millennium ever achieved. A gentle, yearning folk-style chord progression melts with a beautiful pop arrangement, which is buttressed by the band’s always well-executed harmonies. Lyrically, the feeling of the pre-dawn hour is rendered in a nearly magical style here, and makes it one of Sandy Salisbury’s shining moments.

https://www.allmusic.com/song/5-am-mt0012504739

Salisbury himself tells us that:

[It] the only song on Begin that I wrote alone. This song came came to the surface one night in an apartment I lived in. . . . I wanted to write a melodic piece about the quiet early-morning time, the time after a night out, as opposed to the time just after working. I was also influenced hugely by the spectacular compositional achievements of Antonio Carlos Jobim. So this song drew from my love of bossa nova (though [it] is not that) and my emotional attachment to this one specific early-morning ambiance.

liner notes to The Millennium Magic Time: The Millennium/Ballroom Recordings CD comp

Salisbury also says that:

There was a young Columbia executive named Clive Davis who liked “5 AM” and wanted it to go out as a single. I guess it went off to the Philippines, too. That song was on the Billboard top 100 at one point, but in the Philippines it went straight to the top. Boom! Wonder of wonders. This is my one musical claim to fame. Number One in the Philippines! Ho!”

http://badcatrecords.com/MILLENNIUM.htm

Sandy Salisbury is insanely humble and self-deprecating. On his website, he quips: “Did you know that I was a world-famous rock star? Well WORLD and FAMOUS may be pushing it, but … okay, whatever ….” (https://www.grahamsalisbury.com/salisbury-music) Tim Sendra writes that:

Sandy Salisbury was a honey-voiced member of sunshine pop guru Curt Boettcher’s cast of singers and players responsible for some of the finest pop records of the 1960s. [They] met up in Boettcher’s group the Ballroom and found that their voices blended together magically. The Ballroom had a brief existence and soon Salisbury and Boettcher formed Millennium. Salisbury wrote songs as well as sang, and along with the other members of Millennium, he did work on Sagitarrius’s classic 1967 album Present Tense as well as other Boettcher projects. . . . Salisbury . . . recorded a solo record for producer Gary Usher’s Tomorrow label. The record was to be called Sandy and featured most of the members of Millennium, but sadly it was never released due to problems at the label. In 2000, it was finally issued . . . and instantly became a sunshine pop classic. Also in 2000, Dreamsville released a CD of demos Salisbury recorded in the late ’60s for his music publisher. These wonderful songs never saw the light of day at the time because Boettcher told the publisher he wanted them for future projects. . . . It is a shame that these two released so little music at the time because there were no finer practitioners of California sunshine pop. In later years Salisbury has reverted to his given name of Graham and has written many well-received children’s books.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/sandy-salisbury-mn0000833169/biography

As to Begin, Dominique Leone says the album, “probably the single greatest 60s pop record produced in L.A. outside of The Beach Boys . . . found itself very much outside the times that year.” (https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/5546-pieces/) Noel Murray sagely adds:

On the surface, the music . . . is right in the mainstream of radio-friendly pop from 1966-68. [The] songs had the angelic harmonies of The Association and The Mamas & The Papas, the aspirational naïveté of The Beach Boys, the live-inside-the-music atmospherics of The Beatles, and the lysergic tinge of every California band from San Francisco on down. But [Curt] Boettcher and [Gary] Usher were also interested in the avant-garde and classical music, and their highbrow approach to the sweet and fluffy didn’t connect in an era where rock ’n’ roll was getting harder and rowdier. . . .

“5 A.M.” (written by Sandy Salisbury), and “To Claudia On Thursday” (written by Michael Fennelly and Joey Stec) are more openly optimistic and romantic. Whatever the tone, the songs teem with chime, shimmer, and background “la la la”s, creating a world of wonders for listeners to fall into.

https://www.avclub.com/sunshine-pop-1798225095

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/sandy-salisbury-mn0000833169/biography

Matthew Greenwald rightly fawns over Begin

The Millennium’s Begin is a bona fide lost classic. The brainchild of producers Curt Boettcher and Gary Usher, the group was formed out of the remnants of their previous studio project, Sagittarius — which had been preceded by yet another aggregation, the Ballroom. On Begin, hard rock, breezy ballads, and psychedelia all merge into an absolutely air-tight concept album, easily on the level of other, more widely popular albums from the era such as The Notorious Byrd Brothers, which share not only Usher’s production skills, but similarities in concept and construction. The songwriting . . . is sterling and innovative . . . . Begin is an absolute necessity for any fan of late-’60s psychedelia and a wonderful rediscovery; it sounds as vital today as it did the day it was released.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/begin-mw0000690213

Jamobo adds that:

[Begin] is notable as being the second album to use 16-track recording and the group made the most out of that here. Wonderfully lush music that sweeps you in with its fantastic harmonies, both in the instruments and in the vocals, and with the individual melodies that grab your attention instantly and have you singing along by the end of the song. . . . [It] manages to capture a wonderful part of the the era that is was created in, but also remains timeless through its use of gorgeous melodies, harmonies and instrumentation.

https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/jamobo/album/91645-begin/

* The best definition of sunshine pop that I have come across was penned by Noel Murray:

Influenced by the pretty sounds of easy-listening, the catchiness of commercial jingles, and the chemically induced delirium of the drug scene, the sunshine pop acts expressed an appreciation for the beauty of the world mixed with a sense of anxiety that the good ol’ days were gone for good.

Here are the Hep Stars. Bruce Eder tells us that:

The chances are that, had ABBA never come along making Benny Andersson) and his three partners in the group) an international pop/rock star, no one outside of Sweden would ever have heard of the Hep Stars. They were the hottest rock band of the mid- to late ’60s in Sweden . . . . chart[ing] 20 singles in their own country”.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/hep-stars-mn0000721518/biography

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/hep-stars-mn0000721518/biography

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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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Heinz & The Wild Boys— “I’m Not a Bad Guy”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 29, 2023

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

785) Heinz & The Wild Boys — “I’m Not a Bad Guy”

A wild freakbeat version of a Crickets tune — OK, post-Buddy Holly Crickets, but still the Crickets! On the Flip-Side tells us that:

“I’m Not a Bad Guy” was written by Jerry Allison of The Crickets who released the number on Liberty in 1962. The Heinz cover removes The Crickets’ Everly-like harmonies and goes straight for the darkness. . . . [T]he impressive guitar work on I’m Not A Bad Guy features none other than Ritchie Blackmore . . . .

http://ontheflip-side.blogspot.com/2013/08/tower-records-spotlight-heinz-movin-in.html

As to Heinz, Flip-Side goes on:

The professional music story of Heinz, born Heinz Burt in Germany, is inextricably intertwined with producer Joe Meek. Heinz played bass for the Joe Meek produced instrumental band, The Tornados, who struck gold in 1962 with the Meek composition, Telstar. By all accounts, Joe Meek was deeply infatuated with Heinz and decided to craft Heinz into a solo star replete with peroxide blonde pompadour, leather vests and, to paraphrase The Ruttles’ Leggy Mountbatten, with some very tight trousers. 

http://ontheflip-side.blogspot.com/2013/08/tower-records-spotlight-heinz-movin-in.html

Bruce Eder elaborates:

[Heinz] was born . . . in . . . Germany in 1942, and came to England at age seven . . . . In 1961, he was playing with a local band called the Falcons, who were good enough to get an audition with . . . Meek, who didn’t think much of the band but was attracted personally to the bassist’s blonde, Teutonic good looks — so involved was he in Heinz Burt’s physical appeal, that he eventually persuaded the musician to dye his hair bleach-blonde, to make him stand out even more in any band he worked with. . . . Meek assembled a . . . new group called the Tornados . . . [with] Heinz on bass. They initially played as a backing band to Billy Fury . . . . [and] scored a huge international hit . . . with “Telstar.” . . . Meek began recording Heinz for releases of his own, billed simply as “Heinz.” This was an instance where Meek’s romantic fixation outstripped his musical judgment, at least at first. Heinz’s singing . . . was overpowered by the typically ornate Joe Meek production sound on his debut single, “Dreams Do Come True” . . . . [F]or Heinz’s second single, Meek gave him a demo . . . of a tribute song to . . . Eddie Cochran — [who] had been a huge star in England, and had died in a car crash in 1960, while on his way to the airport for a return to the United States . . . . “Just Like Eddie” . . . featuring superb playing by the Outlaws (including a young Ritchie Blackmore on guitar) — . . . [had] a confident, even bold lead vocal from Heinz, it soared into the British Top Five in the summer of 1963 . . . . But . . . Heinz’s record of success beyond this point was more sporadic.  Meek was unable to write or find songs that were right for him, and despite the organizing of a new band — Heinz & the Wild Boys, which included Blackmore . . . he never saw another [big] hit of . . . . Adding to his troubles was his split with Meek, over personal and professional differences. The producer/manager had lavished attention on Heinz, in hopes of a romantic attraction developing, but [he] . . . was not oriented that way.  Meek was willing to hold out hope until Heinz introduced him to his girlfriend . . . . The end of any personal side to Meek’s interest in his career was complicated further over his reportedly less-than-forthright payment of royalties, which led to an angry confrontation between the two, long after the personal split, at the end of 1966. . . . On February 3, 1967 . . . the producer, long troubled in his personal and professional life, took the shotgun that Heinz had left behind and killed his landlady and then himself with the weapon.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/heinz-mn0000567128/biography

Live at the BBC:

Here are the Crickets:

Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise

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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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Tyrone Davis — “She’s Looking Good”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 28, 2023

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

808) Tyrone Davis — “She’s Looking Good”

This song was co-written and released by Rodger Collins in ’67 and reached #101 (#44 R&B). Wilson Pickett then had a #15 hit with it (#7 R&B). But to me, Tyrone Davis made the definitive, most propulsive version. Kildare John calls it “a sort of Stax gone so far into overdrive it might take weeks to find it again on the radars – it’s an area Davis laps up like a cat who found the dairy at 4am before the milk trucks arrive.” (https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/tyrone-davis/can-i-change-my-mind.p/) “I’m gonna steal your daughter!”

Brett J. Bonner tells us that:

Tyrone Davis possessed one of the great voices of the classic soul era. Davis presented himself as a wounded romantic whose vulnerability and lack of overt machismo made his a fan favorite among women. . . . In 1961 he landed a job as Freddie King’s valet and was struck by the desire to be an entertainer himself. He began sitting in with groups at various clubs around [Chicago] and was soon being mentored by vocalist Harold Burrage. Burrage helped arrange Davis’ first recording session at Willie Barney’s Four Brothers label, where he was billed as “Tyrone [The Wonder Boy].” In 1968 Davis was singing at a club when Brunswick Records’ Otis Leaville heard him. Leaville suggested he come to their offices and meet influential producer Carl Davis. Davis had produced Jackie Wilson, Gene Chandler, the Chi-Lites and many other hit groups for Brunswick and was always looking for new talent. But Carl was not impressed with Tyrone and told him so. Fortuitously, house songwriter Floyd Smith heard something in him that piqued his interest. Smith secretly recorded Davis singing his song A Woman Needs to Be Loved. Carl Davis was furious and said the song was promised to Jackie Wilson—end of discussion. But Smith was also Carl’s limo driver, and that evening when he drove his boss home he sneaked the tape into his house and put it on while Carl was upstairs. Suddenly the producer burst into the room asking who was singing the song. Carl . . . . agreed to record Tyrone but insisted that he couldn’t put it out on Brunswick for eight to nine months. However, he did have a small label of his own, Dakar Records, through which he could release the recording. Tyrone acquiesced and the single was released but didn’t catch fire. By chance, Houston DJ Wild Child began playing the B-side Can I Change My Mind and to everyone’s surprise is was a smash hit that reached No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B chart in late 1968. Davis and Davis followed with 23 chart hits over the next decade . . . .

https://www.malaco.com/artists/blues-r-b/tyrone-davis/

Steve Huey:

The king of romantic Chicago soul, Tyrone Davis’ warm, aching vulnerability and stylish class made him especially popular with female soul fans during a lengthy hitmaking run that lasted throughout the 1970s. Davis was a versatile baritone singer who could handle everything from pop-soul to funk to bluesy chitlin-circuit R&B, but smooth soul was his true bread and butter. Once Davis broke through in the late ’60s, he never really stopped recording; although the R&B chart hits dried up by the early ’80s, he was still going strong into the new millennium, decades after his first single was released. Tyrone Davis . . . moved to Chicago in 1959 . . . . He befriended the likes of Bobby “Bluye” Bland, Little Milton, and Otis Clay, among others, and began to pursue his own singing career in the clubs on the city’s West and South Sides. Singer/pianist Harold Burrage took Davis under his wing and helped him refine his craft, and the budding blues shouter got his first shot in 1965 on the Four Brothers label. . . . He found a home at Carl Davis’ new label Dakar in 1968, when a Texas DJ flipped his first release over and started playing the B-side, “Can I Change My Mind.” Showcasing Davis’ lovelorn pleading to best effect, the song went all the way to number one on the R&B charts, and reached the pop Top Five as well. Teamed with producer/arranger Willie Henderson, who’d masterminded “Can I Change My Mind,” Davis capitalized on his breakthrough with a string of orchestrated hits that emphasized his new, smoother style, and helped point the way for Chicago soul into a new decade.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/tyrone-davis-mn0000806507/biography

Here is Rodger Collins:

Here is Wilson Pickett:

And here is P.J. Proby! —

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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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Caleb Quaye — “Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 27, 2023

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

807) Caleb Quaye — “Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad”

A “magnificent” (liner notes to the Chocolate Soup for Diabetics Volumes 1-5 CD comp) and “very fuzzy guitar driven song” (Vernon Joynson, The Tapestry of Delights Revisited), that is an “over-phased slice of distorted guitar, power drumming and wacked-out vocals”. (liner notes to Mojo Presents Acid Drops, Spacedust & Flying Saucers: Psychedelic Confectionery from the UK Underground 1965-1969) David Wells rhapsodizes:

[W]hat a record it is. If Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane is rightly regarded by the proverbial man in the street as the classic double-sided British studio psych pop record, then Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad/Woman of Distinction is, as far as the cognoscenti are concerned, its nearest subterranean equivalent. Distant disembodied vocals, fried lyrics, lashings of phasing, reverb, distortion and backwards tapes — what’s more, Caleb even remembered to write a couple of pretty good songs as well. Possibly he never issued another solo single because this one was impossible to top; then again, maybe it was just that nobody was interested (with the notable and curious exception of pirate station Radio Scotland, apparently). . . .

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

Some might have whispered to Caleb “Baby, your phasing is bad”, but they were jerks!

Of Caleb, Mojo tells us that:

Born in London, but of Ghanaian descent, Caleb Quaye enjoyed a long and successful career as a backing musician and session player (Nilsson, Lou Reed, The Who, Elton John) for the best part of two decades. . . . [Elton John] is rumoured to have played keyboards [on “Baby”] . . . . He and Quaye . . . in 1969 would together record a (still unreleased) album under the name of The Bread and Beer Band [see #175].

liner notes to Mojo Presents Acid Drops, Spacedust & Flying Saucers: Psychedelic Confectionery from the UK Underground 1965-1969

Wells adds that:

Back in the second half of the 1960s . . . he was employed as resident guitar-prodigy-cum-teenage-studio-whizzkid-producer for Beatles publisher Dick James’s company . . . . Quaye . . . would play on pretty much every recording made by . . . Elton John, from such heavily psychedelic late 60s demos as Regimental Sergeant Zippo to million-selling releases like the 1976 double album Blue Moves. . . . When he found religion in the early 1980s . . . Caleb sold what, according to drummer Roger Pope, was the biggest private record collection in the country to Elton . . . .

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

“In 1968, Quaye played guitar in Elton’s touring band, a position he occupied on and off for the next decade, as well as forming Hookfoot.” (liner notes to the Chocolate Soup for Diabetics Volumes 1-5 CD comp)

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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.

When subscribing, please send me an e-mail (GMFtma1@gmail.com) or a comment on this site letting me know an e-mail address/phone number/Facebook address, etc. to which I can send instructions on accessing the playlist and a physical address to which I can sent a magnet/t-shirt/baseball cap. If choosing a t-shirt, please let me know the gender and size you prefer.

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The Picadilly Line — “Emily Small (The Huge World Thereof)”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 26, 2023

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

806) The Picadilly Line — “Emily Small” (The Huge World Thereof)”

This late-Summer of Love A-side is “whimsical toytown pop-psych” (Vernon Joynson, The Tapestry of Delights Revisited), “a gentle baroque-pop arrangement of strings and horns and period-perfect background vocals. . . . definitely lightweight, but charming”. (Peter Marston, https://www.popgeekheaven.com/music-discovery/lost-treasures-picadilly-line) The song comes from an album (The Huge World of Emily Small) that is a “delightful confection of high harmonies and a Beatles-via-California melodic sensibility[, t]wee in the best way possible . . . . [w]ith whimsical slice-of-life lyrics and a true ear for melody . . . a classic piece of UK pop-psych”(https://www.forcedexposure.com/Catalog/picadilly-line-the-the-huge-world-of-emily-small-lp/RAD.7005LP.html), “breezy post Sergeant Pepper psychedelic pop with plenty of swinging London vibes, orchestration and evocative whimsical lyrics”.(https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/the-huge-world-of-emily-small/)

Richie Unterberger dives into the album:

The Huge World of Emily Small [was] in the lightest and poppiest side of the British pop-psychedelic style. . . .

[It is] one of the recordings that most epitomizes what has been retrospectively dubbed the “toytown” school of British psychedelia . . . . the songs bounce along daintily; the vocal emphasis is on high harmonies; the lyrics are sometimes populated with observations of British everyday life and characters, sprinkled with a coat of whimsy; and the arrangements benefit from touches of baroque orchestration. It’s executed here, however, with a fey, twee touch that makes the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle, for instance, sound rough ‘n’ ready by comparison. It’s thus going to be too light even for some British psychedelic pop enthusiasts, but it’s not quite the most saccharine entry in the genre, though it’s undeniably precious. There’s a folky lightness that keeps this from being too wide-eyed and childish, sometimes sounding a bit like Simon & Garfunkel gone toytown, though with some similarities to both the 1967-era Beatles and ’60s California pop in the vocals and arrangements.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/picadilly-line-mn0001587854/biography; https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-huge-world-of-emily-small-mw0000849623

As to the Picadilly Line, Peter Marston explains that:

[The band] was essentially a duo, consisting of Ron Edwards (guitar/organ/vocals) and Roger Hand (guitar/vocals). . . . [who] met up while students at London University, and began performing in local clubs in the mid-’60s. After securing a residency at the influential folk club Les Cousins, they signed a management deal with Roy Guest who quickly landed them a contract with CBS Records. The duo decided a suitably swingin’ named was required . . . finally settling on the misspelled Picadilly Line, the misspelling chosen due to a fear that they might be sued by the London Transport system. Sessions began almost immediately, produced by Guest and John Cameron, the arranger on Donovan’s Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow. The players on the album were largely drawn from the same pool of musicians that recorded Sunshine Superman, including, perhaps most famously, Nicky Hopkins on piano, and Herbie Flowers on bass. . . .

The Huge World of Emily Small did not receive a heavy promotional push from CBS and failed to generate any traction in either sales or airplay. Sessions for a second album were begun, but when two follow-up singles failed to chart, the band folded—well, not folded so much as regrouped, this time emerging as Edwards Hand [see #151, 663], best known for being produced by none other than George Martin.

https://www.popgeekheaven.com/music-discovery/lost-treasures-picadilly-line

Richard Allen adds that:

[The album] was released at the height of Flower Power in the summer of 1967 but, despite its immediate charms and psychedelic flower girl cover, failed to set the pop world alight. [P]lastered [over] the whole of London w[ere] fluorescent pink posters but that didn’t save the album from its fate at the bottom of the CBS list of priorities. They were too busy frying bigger fish such as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel who had just hit the big time with Sounds of Silence.

liner notes to the CD reissue of The Huge World of Emily Small

David Wells notes that the Line was “too commercial to appeal to underground audiences, but they were nevertheless an integral part of the club scene, with regular appearances at such venues as UFO, Middle Earth and the Marquee.” (liner notes to Let’s Go Down and Blow Our Minds: The British Psychedelic Sounds of 1967 CD comp)

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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.

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Nocturnal Day Dream —“I Had a Dream Last Night”: for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 25, 2023

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

805) Nocturnal Day Dream — “I Had a Dream Last Night”

This B-side of the band’s only single (’68) is a “melodic [garage] gem” (Rog Brown, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7mz3EK932w), not so much moody as eerie/otherwordly. Now that’s a sub-genre! The song deserves to be more widely known — too bad David Lynch never used it. The band is from Michigan, but I’ve come up dry trying to find anything else out. Anyone know?

I have added a Facebook page for Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock! If you like what you read and hear and feel so inclined, please visit and “like” my Facebook page by clicking here.

Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise

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.

When subscribing, please send me an e-mail (GMFtma1@gmail.com) or a comment on this site letting me know an e-mail address/phone number/Facebook address, etc. to which I can send instructions on accessing the playlist and a physical address to which I can sent a magnet/t-shirt/baseball cap. If choosing a t-shirt, please let me know the gender and size you prefer.

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Al Kooper — “Love Theme from The Landlord”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 24, 2023

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

804) Al Kooper — “Love Theme from The Landlord

This ’70 album track and ’71 B-side and soundtrack track is a gorgeous and “haunting” song (Lindsay Planer, https://www.allmusic.com/album/easy-does-it-mw0000740238) by Kooper (see #642, 705) Kooper, the victim of a bloody, sweaty and tearful coup d’état, somehow got to score Hal Ashby’s first film — The Landlord — “an acclaimed social satire starring Beau Bridges as a wealthy young man Elgar who leaves his family’s estate in Long Island to pursue love in a Brooklyn ghetto.” (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065963/plotsummary/?ref_=tt_stry_pl)

As Alfie Hitchie describes the flick:

At the age of 29, Elgar Enders (Beau Bridges) “runs away” from home. This running away consists of buying a building in a black ghetto in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Initially, his intention is to evict the black tenants and convert it into a posh flat. But Elgar is not one to be bound by yesterday’s urges, and soon he has other thoughts on his mind. He’s grown fond of the black tenants and particularly of Fanny . . . the wife of a black radical; he’s maybe fallen in love with Lanie . . , a mixed race girl; he’s lost interest in redecorating his home. Joyce . . . his mother has not relinquished this interest and in one of the film’s most hilarious sequences gives her MasterCharge card to Marge (Pearl Bailey), a black tenant and appoints her decorator.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065963/plotsummary/?ref_=tt_stry_pl

How did Kooper get this gig? He says “I wish I knew”!, going on to say:

[Ashby] was a fan, so that had a contribution. Being that it was his first film, I couldn’t really judge him from anything, but I spent a lot of time with him. And he was a very unusual guy. [laughter] And I enjoyed the time I spent with him. And I hoped that he liked the score.

https://thestrangebrew.co.uk/interviews/al-kooper/

Oh, and the song has become an unlikely go-to source for samples by multiple hip-hop artists, including Jay-Z. (https://www.whosampled.com/Al-Kooper/Love-Theme-From-The-Landlord/sampled/)

Kooper should have long ago been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Bruce Eder says that he “by rights, should be regarded as one of the giants of ’60s rock, not far behind the likes of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon in importance” and goes on to say:

[H]e was a very audible sessionman on some of the most important records of mid-decade . . . . Kooper also joined and led, and then lost two major groups, the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He played on two classic blues-rock albums in conjunction with his friend Mike Bloomfield. As a producer at Columbia, he signed the British invasion act the Zombies just in time for them to complete the best LP in their entire history; and still later, Kooper discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd and produced their best work.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/al-kooper-mn0000509524

An exasperated Mark Daponte adds on:

When it comes to Al Kooper’s storied career in rock, the multi-instrumentalist man checks every rock box. Hit songwriter? Check. His credits include “This Diamond Ring,” by Gary Lewis and the Playboys and “I Can’t Quit Her” by the group he created, Blood Sweat and Tears. Session player? Check. That’s him at age 21 playing the Hammond B-3 organ on Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” French horn on the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” piano on Jimi Hendrix’s “Long Hot Summer Night” and guitar playing with Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield on Super Sessions, a live album that cost $13,000 to make, sold over 450,000 copies and made it to #11 on the Billboard Top 20. The follow-up LP, The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, even had cover art done by Norman Rockwell—a fella not known to rock particularly well. Producer? Check. More like multiple “checks” for producing The Tubes’ debut and the first three Lynyrd Skynrd albums, the soundtrack to the John Waters’ movie Cry Baby and co-producing Dylan’s New Morning album. . . . Yet, for all of his years of being a “secret weapon” that rockers frequently utilized, this rock and roll “Zelig” remains pretty much a secret to the general public, especially to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame voters who have yet to put him on a ballot. 

https://www.culturesonar.com/super-kooper-the-everywhere-man/

Here’s Jay-Z:

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s the movie:

I have added a Facebook page for Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock! If you like what you read and hear and feel so inclined, please visit and “like” my Facebook page by clicking here.

Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise

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.

When subscribing, please send me an e-mail (GMFtma1@gmail.com) or a comment on this site letting me know an e-mail address/phone number/Facebook address, etc. to which I can send instructions on accessing the playlist and a physical address to which I can sent a magnet/t-shirt/baseball cap. If choosing a t-shirt, please let me know the gender and size you prefer.

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

Dreams — “New York”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 23, 2023

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

803) Dreams — “New York”

The dream of nuclear fusion, achieved! This jazz-rock barn burner is hardly a love letter to NYC (where all the lonely, uptight people do come from). The band — filled with a Murderer’s Row of future fusion Hall of Famers. And the cacophony of what sound like blaring car horns at the end is a hoot.

“Dreams is a legendary pioneer jazz-rock group that included such young players as trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist John Abercrombie, drummer Billy Cobham and the 19-year old tenor Michael Brecker”. (Scott Yanow, https://www.allmusic.com/album/dreams-mw0000274057) “This is what happened in the 60s and 70s when you brought together jazz and rock musicians. They did not know they were playing ‘fusion’. The difference here is the vocals, unusual for such a powerful ensemble.” (Le West, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fusZWH7Q4M0)

John O’Regan says of the album that:

All [the] . . . tracks were original compositions . . . , highlight[ing a] talent[] for writing catchy jazz/pop/rock songs and the band’s . . . musical expertise. The album was recorded mostly live which added to the fresh spontaneous atmosphere of the recording. Dreams featured a mix of catchy songs with great horn licks and impassioned vocals from Edward Vernon . . . . Dreams deserve to be more than a footnote to beginning the careers of Billy Cobham, John Abercrombie and the Brecker Brothers among others. . . . their distinctive jazz/rock/funk crossovers encompassing commerciality and musical dexterity . . . .

http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2018/05/dreams-dreams-imagine-my-surprise-1970.html

Slava (Snobb) tells us that:

Dreams . . . was founded in late sixties as [a] trio, but soon added [a] brass section and became the brass-rock band in a manner of Chicago or Blood Sweat and Tears. Even if they didn’t [achieve] popularity in their time, they became a great starting place for some well known fusion musicians . . . . Differently from other brass-rock bands of the time, their music was more improv based in New Orleans tradition. The band released just two studio albums and was disbanded, but many members became great musicians in [the] future.

http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=5197

O’Regan adds:

Dreams . . . became a popular live band in the New York and Chicago areas and headed to Los Angeles. There they played a battle of the bands [with the] J. Geils Band for a recording contract with Atlantic Records as the prize. The boisterous rhythm and blues-based J. Geils Band . . . was signed to Atlantic but Dreams made their own reputation. . . . [tearing] the place down . . . . [and] received a contract from CBS Records . . . .

http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2018/05/dreams-dreams-imagine-my-surprise-1970.html

Michael Brecker reminisced that:

I couldn’t have picked a better time. I was in the first generation to be exposed equally to jazz and pop. We listened to Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, rhythm-and-blues, the Beatles, Hendrix. We developed a whole new approach and it gave us so much freedom. The rock context meant that you could play complex ideas and not be met by a bunch of puzzled or hostile faces.

https://jazzfuel.com/michael-brecker-saxophone-career/

I’m full disclosure, Scott Yanow thought the band was more of a nightmare:

[Dreams’] music has dated very badly. This CD reissue finds solos being de-emphasized in favor of erratic and often unlistenable vocals. While trombonist Barry Rogers had a feeling for jazz, the remainder of the group . . . weighs down the recording with mundane pop sensibilities. Only a spirited “New York” and the 14-minute “Dream Suite” allow the horns a chance to blow a bit and even there the results are quite forgettable and disappointing.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/dreams-mw0000274057

I have added a Facebook page for Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock! If you like what you read and hear and feel so inclined, please visit and “like” my Facebook page by clicking here.

Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise

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.

When subscribing, please send me an e-mail (GMFtma1@gmail.com) or a comment on this site letting me know an e-mail address/phone number/Facebook address, etc. to which I can send instructions on accessing the playlist and a physical address to which I can sent a magnet/t-shirt/baseball cap. If choosing a t-shirt, please let me know the gender and size you prefer.

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

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