A Bit Like You And Me Radio

October 17, 2014

The Gants - Greener Days (1966)

If there was ever a small-time group that had the talent to hit the big time, it was these guys. Formed in 1963, The Gants had an impressive collection of original material and cover songs. Unfortunately for the members of the band, half of them were still in high school and under the pressure of their parents, making out-of-town performances and promotional appearances problematic. The other half of the band faces the same troubles, but for different reasons: they were enrolled in college and unable to drop out without facing getting drafted into the Vietnam conflict. When the band couldn’t make it to local promotions, the radio stations stopped giving them their local support. And when the support stopped rolling in, the band collapsed soon after.

Having been featured on A Bit Like You And Me two times prior, it’s no secret that this band has a lot of great songs. The song heard below was written for the band by their producer, David Gates, who would be a future member of the band Bread. Amid sending me an exclusive story via email, Sid Herring, the lead singer of The Gants, expressed to me that he was very proud of the way this song came out. When first released, it was backed with the B-Side “Just a Good Show.”

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The Gants - Greener Days (1966)

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Lyrics:

As I write this letter
I hope you’re feelin’ better
Than I am as I sit here
Fightin’ back a tear
‘cause my mind keeps shiftin’
Back in time, it’ driftin’
To the days when you were near

Those were greener days
That we knew
Just me and you
Sharin’ the world together
But as they came, they went away
And our days of green
Turned into grey

So, I watch the sunrise
Hopin’ maybe your eyes
Will be shinin’ down on me
To brighten up my world
Like it once was, glowin’
When your face was showin’
Me the way to find our love

Those were greener days
That we had
It’s kinda too bad
They didn’t last forever
But, we’ll go on
Our separate ways
‘cause our greener days
Turned into grey

I better close and sign my name
It’s getting late
But don’t forget our chance
To twist the hands of fate

So the greener days
Will return
Deeper they’ll grow
With every spring rain of love
Rainbows will shine
You will be mine
And our days of green
Will never turn to grey

They’ll never fade away
They’ll never turn to grey
They’ll never fade away…

October 10, 2014

Bubble Puppy - Hot Smoke & Sassafras (1968)

Rod Prince (lead guitar) and Roy Cox (bass) put together this band in San Antonio, Texas, 1966, after their previous band, the Bad Seeds, had disbanded. Although they were beat to the punch by The 13th Floor Elevators and The Golden Dawn, they’re regarded as one of the first psychedelic rock bands out of the state of Texas. Their name was inspired by a children's game played in Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. They were also one of the first psychedelic bands anywhere to use dual lead guitars- featuring the technique as early as 1967- a full two years before Wishbone Ash and the Allman brothers, who popularized the technique. Rounding out the band was Todd Potter (second lead guitar) and David “Fuzzy” Fore (drums).

The band had their first and most prominent taste of success in the spring of 1969, when their song heard below (and recorded in 1968) made it to number fourteen on the Billboard 100. The title of the song came about when somebody in the band misheard a line on an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. The song’s success led them to recording their first album, A Gathering of Promises, in 1969, which unfortunately sold poorly.

A falling out with the band’s label, International Artists (who had also signed The 13th Floor Elevators and The Golden Dawn) led the band to hire Nick St. Nicholas of Steppenwolf as their manager and move out to Los Angeles. They changed their name to Demian to avoid any contractual issues, and to erase any connection to the bubblegum pop genre. As Demian, they released one self-titled album in 1971 and split up in 1972 after the album’s lack of success. Since, the group has gotten back together at various times, reuniting under their Bubble Puppy name. They released an album, Wheels Go Round, in 1987 and have performed live as recently as 2012.

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Bubble Puppy - Hot Smoke & Sassafras (1968)

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Lyrics:

In the mist of sassafras
Many things will come to pass
And the smoke shall rise again
To the place above where it began

Time will bring the fire and flame
Surely as it brought the rain
But in the gardens of the moon
Time is held within the silver spoon

If you're happy where you are
Then you need not look too far
If you've found your place at last
Then you need not use the looking glass

August 26, 2014

KAK - Lemonaide Kid (1968)

In 1966, high school students Gary Lee Yoder and Dehner Patten were first introduced to one another when Patten replaced Bob Daigl in Yoder’s band, The Hideaways. In that same year, The Hideaways had dissolved and Yoder and Patten started a new band, The Oxford Circle. Although The Oxford Circle was primarily based in Davis, California, they managed to travel all around northern California for live shows. They even made it to San Francisco, where they opened for acts such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin.

When The Oxford Circle disbanded in late 1967/early 1968, it was the father of Yoder’s writing partner, Gary Grelecki, who gave Yoder and Patten their next big shot. Working for CBS, Grelecki’s father persuaded the boys to record a demo with their new bandmates Joseph David Damrell (bass) and Chris Lockheed (drums). With that new demo and a single by The Oxford Circle, Grelecki’s father had enough material to persuade his connections to get the boys signed to Epic Records. They called themselves KAK and relocated to San Francisco.

Together as KAK, Gary Lee Yoder, Dehner Patten, Joseph David Damrell, and Chris Lockheed only recorded one album. It was recorded in Los Angeles at CBS Studio over the span of two days. Although a few low-level partitions were used, the album was primarily recorded like a live album, with little to no overdubs being involved. The album, self-titled, was released in 1968 and sold poorly. A large reason for the lack of sales was the reluctance of the record label to promote the album or even the band itself. Besides two half-page ads in Rolling Stone magazine, the band had been given virtually no promotion.

With no manager to guide them, the members of KAK weren’t sure what steps to take after the release of their album. They performed about a half dozen more shows, all booked by themselves, and then disbanded.

After the split, Patten and Lockheed would go on to perform in a band called Cherry Jam, amongst many others, until Patten settled down in Oregon where he still lives today. Yoder released a solo album for Epic before joining Blue Cheer, with which he remained from 1969 to 1972. All members continue to play, separately, to this day.

The song heard below was the last track on the band's only album, released in 1968.

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KAK - Lemonaide Kid (1968)

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Lyrics:

Life’s road is not clear to me
No, the mapwork has not been laid
I thought I’d take a little detour
And go sit in the shade
Well, I got to take it easy, babe
I better watch out what I do
I saw the lemonade kid on the peppermint sticks
He had a mind-blowing kitty
He said he’d set it aside for you

Lemonade and I went walking
We met a man down the path
He said he was Donk, the feast-giver
Ooh, this can’t last
Oh, no- yes it can
Due to the kid’s luck
You know the feast was good
Well, we drank our fill and we ate until
The sun went down and the moon stood still

Here’s the road again
Oh, no, we can’t be sold
Just when things were getting good
The kid had to go
“Well, I’ll see you later”
“I hope you can make it back again someday”
“Got a lot more tricks to show you”
“And I’ve got a lot more places where we can play”

Life is just a play
And the world is its theater
Do you want to have a bit part
Or do you want to be a leader?
You’ve got to think for yourself
Don’t want to put any notions in your head
‘cause the only one that counts is watchings inside ya
And the way you act, he might as well be dead