A Bit Like You And Me Radio

June 28, 2013

The Move - Do Ya (1971)

Formed in December 1965, this band from Birmingham, England had nine Top 20 singles in the UK in a five year period. In their earliest years, they were managed by Tony Secunda, a man who frequently used publicity stunts to generate conversation about the group, often getting the band in hot water. After multiple hits in the ‘60s and some personnel shifts, 1970 saw band member and primary songwriter Roy Wood dabbling with the idea of mixing classical instruments into the band’s primarily “rock” sound. As he put it, he wanted to take rock music in the direction “that The Beatles had left off” at. In January 1970, the band picked up Jeff Lynne, who promised to join only if they worked on the direction Wood had proposed as a side project in their free time. In order to complete the side project that Wood and Lynne were quickly enthralled with (as well as fellow Move member Bev Bevan by now), they had to continue recording and selling as The Move in order to generate funds. Lynne and Wood shared most of the writing and composing responsibilities for The Move in this time frame, as well as taking the band on a tour of the UK being backed by Black Sabbath. Finally, by December 1971, Lynne and Wood’s first LP from their side project was released and the Electric Light Orchestra was born. The Move was no more.

Although generally regarded as an ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) song because of their 1976 release, it was actually first recorded and released by this band in October 1971 on their last album, Message from the Country. As previously mentioned in our first feature of the group, this band never had much of a presence in the US; nearly all of their success was in the UK. This particular song, written by Jeff Lynne, was the only taste of success by the band in the US when it was released as the B-Side of a single. It reached a mild ninety-three on the Hot 100 chart, making it the only song to chart by the band in the US throughout their existence. The version heard below is the single version, missing two short verses near the end of the song. As you might expect, The Move's recording of this song is rock, whereas ELO's cover was rock incorporated with classical instruments.

album art

The Move - Do Ya (1971)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

In this life, I've seen
Everything I can see, woman
I've seen lovers flying
Through the air, hand in hand
I've seen babies
Dancing in the midnight sun
And I've seen dreams that came
From the heavenly skies above
I've seen old men crying
At their own gravesides
I've seen pigs all sitting
Watching picture slides
But I never seen nothing like you

(Do ya, do ya want my love?)
Woman
(Do ya, do ya want my love?)
I don’t see it
(Do ya, do ya want my face?)
I need it
(Do ya, do ya want my mind?)

Well, I heard the crowd
Singing out of tune
As they sat and sang “Auld Lang Syne”
By the light of the moon
I heard the preachers banging on the drums
But I never heard nothing like you

(Do ya, do ya want my love?)
Woman
(Do ya, do ya want my love?)
I don’t see ya
(Do ya, do ya want my face?)
I need it
(Do ya, do ya want my mind?)

Well, I think you understand
What I'm trying to say, woman
That is, I'd like to
Save you for a rainy day
I've seen enough of the world to know, baby
That I've got to get it all
To get it all to grow

(Do ya, do ya want my love?)
Woman
(Do ya, do ya want my love?)
I don’t see it
(Do ya, do ya want my face?)
I need it
(Do ya, do ya want my mind?)

Ah, you better me

(Do ya, do ya want my love?)
(Do ya, do ya want my love?)
(Do ya, do ya want my face?)
(Do ya, do ya want my mind?)

Look out, baby! There’s a plane a’comin’!

June 27, 2013

The Idle Race - Sitting In My Tree (1968)

Dave Pritchard, Greg Masters, and Roger Spencer had been playing together in Birmingham, England since 1959. In the coming years, their band’s name and lead singer changed frequently until, in 1964, they were led by Mike Sheridan and Roy Wood, going by the name Mike Sheridan and The Nightriders. When Wood amicably left in December 1965 to join The Move, Mike Sheridan soon parted ways, as well. In May 1966, the band picked up a young Jeff Lynne and changed their name to The Idyll Race. For simplicity’s sake, they soon changed to the spelling now seen above. Roy Wood, who had gone on to become a famous musician with his new band The Move, arranged to have his old bandmates set up with Liberty Records.

Despite being well received by critics and radio DJs, a combination of bad luck and poor promotion had left the band without a hit. In February 1969, Roy Wood extended an invitation to Jeff Lynne, asking him to join The Move. Lynne declined, not wanting to give up on his current band’s star potential just yet. That same year, Lynne’s band released their second album, Idle Race (this album produced by Lynne himself), and two singles written by him, “Days of Broken Arrows” and “Come With Me.” When all of the releases failed to reach commercial success, Lynne knew the band wouldn’t go anywhere. In January 1970, Lynne parted ways with The Idle Race to join Roy Wood’s The Move, under the condition that The Move would eventually be retired in favor of their new joint venture, a band that would later be known as ELO.

With Lynne gone, Pritchard, Masters, and Spencer hired the talents of Mike Hopkins and Dave Walker to replace him. Together, they would release their third and final album, Time Is, in 1971. That album, along with their last single, failed to chart. Pritchard and Spencer parted ways and Steve Gibbons joined the still-incomplete group. When Masters and Hopkins also quit in 1972, what was left rapidly evolved around Gibbons into the Steve Gibbons Band.

This song comes from the band’s first album, The Birthday Party, released in 1968. It was written by Jeff Lynne and features the band's most recognizable lineup: Lynne, Pritchard, Masters, and Spencer. After the rise of Jeff Lynne and his success in ELO, The Birthday Party was re-released in 1976. Neither release of the album saw any action on the charts.

album art

The Idle Race - Sitting In My Tree (1968)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

I often sit alone up in a tree
Waving to the ones that wave at me
I think, “Well, just how stupid can they be?”
Waving to a man up in a tree

What they don't know is I am counting them
I even count the ladies and the men
I put the numbers in my little book
And only me can ever have a look

All I ask is a peace of mind
Which I lost somewhere down amongst the mess
All I want is for people to be kind
And walk slower to be counted when they pass

I think, “Well, just how stupid can they be?”
Waving to a man up in a tree

I know that I will have to stop my fun
When I meet a girl who I cannot count on
Maybe marry her and happy we would be
Not counting, but just sitting up a tree

I put the numbers in my little book
And only me can ever have a look
I think, “Well, just how stupid can they be?”
Waving to a man up in a tree

June 26, 2013

Bread - Truckin' (1971)

One of the original “soft rock” bands, this Los Angeles, California group was first created when guitarist and vocalist James "Jimmy" Griffin hired David Gates to produce his next solo album. What developed instead was a band, dubbed “Bread,” in 1968. Adding guitarist and vocalist Robb Royer to the mix, the trio signed with Elektra Records and saw the release of their first album in September 1969. Although the album produced no hits, it gathered the group a following. Their highest charting single was “Make It With You,” released June 13, 1970, reaching number one in the United States and number five in the United Kingdom. None of their other hits would ever chart as highly, but other Top 10 singles released were “It Don’t Matter to Me,” “If,” “Baby I’m-a Want You,” “Everything I Own,” and “Lost Without Your Love.” Since Gates had written and sang lead on all eleven of the band’s charting singles, Elektra Records wanted to continue featuring Gates’ songs as A-Sides. Griffin felt that the favoritism was unfair and strife within the band began to grow. By 1973, the band had split up, but “best of” compilation albums released by their label put the band back in high demand. The demand was so high, in fact, that the band was coerced into getting back together to record one more album. Released in 1977, their final album, Lost Without Your Love, was backed with a nationwide tour. For the second leg of the tour, Gates didn’t invite Griffin, whom he still couldn’t get along with. At the end of the tour, the band broke up once more, not to be seen again until a “25th Anniversary” tour of the United States took place in 1996-’97.

Released on the band’s second album, 1971’s Manna, this song was written by band members James Griffin and Robb Royer. The album featured twelve tracks, six of which were penned by Gates and the other six by Griffin/Royer. The song “If” was the only successful single from the album, but the particular track below shows that the band didn’t always have to rock softly.

album art

Bread - Truckin' (1971)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Truckin’ down the highway
Get out of my way
Always in a hurry
Always in between

That’s where you can find me
Truckin’ down the highway
Sittin’ in the cab of
A ten-ton machine

I’m gettin’ pretty tired of stoppin’
In old, run-down cafés
Someday I’m gonna find me a woman
Rich enough to pay my way

Gonna make some in-roads
Drivin’ home a payload
Truckin’ down the highway
The likes you’ve never seen

I’m gettin’ pretty tired of lookin’
In them truck-stop cabarets
Someday I’m gonna find me a woman
Rich enough to pay my way

Then you’re gonna find me
Truckin’ down the highway
Sittin’ in the back seat
Of a long limousine

Truckin’ down the highway
Get out of my way
Truckin’ down the highway…

June 25, 2013

Fairport Convention - Reynardine (1969)

Guitarist Simon Nicol and bassist Ashley Hutchings (male) first met in 1966 while playing in the Ethnic Shuffle Orchestra in North London. They practiced together in Nicol’s father’s house, named “Fairport,” in the same part of town that The Kinks’ brothers, Ray Davies and Dave Davies, had grown up in. Soon uniting with Richard Thompson and Shaun Frater, the musicians borrowed the name of the home in which they practiced and called themselves the Fairport Convention. At their very first live performance, their drummer Frater was challenged by an audience member claiming to be able to do a better job. Martin Lamble, the accuser, permanently took Frater’s spot. With the addition of female vocalist Judy Dyble, the first solid incarnation of the band was formed. As mentioned in our previous post featuring this group, it would be unwise to try and list all the personnel changes over the coming years, as over twenty-five members’ names would need to be explained.

This song, which was released on the band’s 1969 Liege & Lief album, is a traditional English ballad. The song, dating back to before the 1800s, deals with a main character, Reynardine, who attracts beautiful women back to his castle. In 1904, a new version of the song was arranged that included a new aspect to Reynardine, the ability to transform himself into a fox. The 1904 version, now the most widely known, is commonly overlooked as a “new” version, as people generally believe, incorrectly, that the werefox aspect of Reynardine was a part of the original song. The album which this particular version of the song appears on, Liege & Lief, is disputed as one of the first in the English folk rock genre (not to be confused with the American folk rock genre started by bands such as The Byrds years prior).

album art

Fairport Convention - Reynardine (1969)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

One evening as I rambled among the leaves so green
I overheard a young woman converse with Reynardine

Her hair was black, her eyes were blue, her lips as red as wine
And he smiled to gaze upon her, did that sly, old Reynardine

She said, “Kind sir, be civil, my company forsake”
“For in my own opinion, I fear you are some rake”

“Oh, no,” he said, “no rake am I; brought up in Venus train”
“But I'm seeking for concealment all along the lonesome plain”

“Your beauty so enticed me, I could not pass it by”
“So it's with my gun I'll guard you along the mountains high”

“And if, by chance, you should look for me, perhaps you'll not me find”
“For I'll be in my castle; inquire for Reynardine”

Sun went dark, she followed him, his teeth did brightly shine
And he led her over the mountains, did that sly old Reynardine

June 24, 2013

The Harbinger Complex - Time to Kill (1966)

Bob Hoyle III and Ron Rotarius began playing guitar together when they were in the eighth grade. By the time they were sophomores together in high school, they had enough talent and musically-inclined friends to put together a band. They called themselves The Norsemen. Unfortunately, in 1965, Hoyle was called to active duty in the Naval Reserves for the Vietnam Conflict. By the time he had come back in 1966, the early stages of The Harbinger Complex had already begun with Rotarius. Hoyle was quickly accepted as the band’s lead guitarist, while Rotarius performed rhythm guitar duties. Also in the band were Jim Hockstaff on lead vocals, Gary Clark on bass, Jim Redding on drums, and Chuck Tedford on organ. Tedford parted ways with the band before having a chance to record. The band had a huge local following in their hometown of Fremont, California, and they were soon recording singles. August 1966 saw the release of “Time to Kill,” “When You Know You’re In Love,” “I Think I’m Down,” and “My Dear and Kind Sir.” All recorded in Los Angeles at Golden State Records, the singles were released on the Amber and Brent labels, with the latter two released on the Mainstream label’s 1968 compilation album, With Love: A Pot of Flowers. When Jim Hockstaff left the band in early 1967, Gary Clark took over the lead vocals. Unfortunately, the band didn’t last much longer and they split up before the end of 1967. Hoyle passed away on May 6, 2003, but the whereabouts of the other members are unknown to me.

The writing credits of this band were always attributed to Hockstaff and Hoyle III. In a Lennon/McCartney fashion, no matter who wrote the song, credit was given to both members. Usually Hoyle was responsible for the music and Hockstaff the lyrics, but for the particular song below, Hoyle had written the words. The lyrics to this song were based on Hoyle’s recent experiences in Vietnam.

album art

The Harbinger Complex - Time to Kill (1966)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

My, my, where’s the sky?
Just got up and don’t know why
If I start, I know I will
Come back on a time to kill

I see others pulling back
Cashing in on my own high
Stealing acts
They don’t know why

Hey, hey, time to pay
What was blue is turning grey
If I jump, perhaps I can
Escape this happy, hippie-land

Can’t believe it’s coming still
Cast another freaky spell
Waiting for my ringing bell
I will win, but please don’t tell

I see people floating by
Cashing in on my own high
Stealing acts
They don’t know why

Gee whiz, nothing is
Make a guess at which is his
Tell me sir, by where it’s at
One more line ‘bout this or that

Can’t believe it's coming still
Cast another freaky spell
Waiting for my ringing bell
I will win, but please don’t tell

June 21, 2013

Sons of Adam - Saturday's Son (1966)

Originally known as The Fender IV (previously featured), this band first came together in Baltimore, Maryland in 1962. When the band relocated their surf sound to Southern California, they built up their audience with frequent performances on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. At this time, the group consisted of Randy Holden, Joe Kooken, Mike Port, and Michael Stuart. When Beatlemania and the British Invasion diminished the surf genre in late ’63 and early ’64, the band renamed themselves to that which is seen above and changed their style to R&B and rock. In 1965, the band released their first single, “Take My Hand” / “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day,” which led to them appearing in the movie The Slender Thread. In 1966, after the release of their second single, lead singer and guitarist Randy Holden left the band to join The Other Half (previously featured), while the band relocated to San Francisco and replaced Holden with Craig Tarwater. They released one more single, “Feathered Fish” / “Baby Show the World” before splitting up. Michael Stuart would go on to join Love from 1966 until 1968, playing drums on their highly acclaimed Forever Changes album. After The Other Half, Randy Holden would also join Blue Cheer, playing on their third album, New! Improved! Blue Cheer.

Written by Lou Josie, this song featured Holden on lead vocals/lead guitar and appeared as the B-Side on the band’s second single, featuring the A-Side “Mr. You’re a Better Man Than I”. It was produced by Gary Usher, the same guy who created Sagittarius, and released on July 15, 1966.



A Special Edition post with Randy Holden
of The Fender IV, Sons of Adam, The Other Half, and Blue Cheer!

I'm starting to lose count of how many exclusive stories we've received. We've been very lucky with the generosity of these artists. Today's story comes from Randy Holden, the guitarist and vocalist of bands such as The Fender IV, Sons of Adam, The Other Half, and Blue Cheer. Randy was kind enough to submit a very funny story, which you can read below. After the story, be sure to listen to the Sons of Adam's "Saturday's Son".
A Bit Like You And Me and readers,

The measures young guys have to effect to carve the path to their dreams are often the roads not trod upon, especially when money is not an inherited oil to smooth the ways, as was an occasion in 1963 when my dream of taking my band to California was an impossible dream for a poor kid. However, never let a small thing like money deter you, as a small thing, such as a bee, has powerful potential.

I finally had most of the pieces in place to make the move to the West Coast in pursuit of my dream to be in the biggest band in the world (it’s important to know that this was before The Beatles, as no one ever heard of the British Invasion at this time in history). The plan was: the bass player, Mike, had a 1953 Mercury and I had a 1957 Ford. We were going to trade both of these in for a 1959 VW Beetle bus. That bus would carry us and our gear anywhere we needed to go. My ‘57 Ford had a blown engine, but the dealer still wanted it. The very day the trade was to take place and provide our freedom-ticket to California the next day, a bee flew in the window of my ‘57 Ford, as the rhythm guitarist, Jo-Jac, was on his way to trade it in to the dealer.

Joe changed his name to Jac later, which took a while getting used to, so he became Jo-Jac during the transition. So we'll call him Jac for now.

Jac was a pretty decent sort. I liked him because he actually had the courage to drop everything the future held and go ripping off to California on what most conservative-minded folks in Baltimore deemed “a dizzy daydream.” None of the others I asked were willing to take on my flight of fantasy, but Joe- or, Jac and Mike.

Joe had really poor eyesight. He wore glasses that looked like they were a half inch thick and, even with them, he didn't see particularly well. Given such circumstances... Not only did the bee fly in the window of the car while Jac was behind the wheel, it flew underneath his eyeglasses and into his eye! How such things happen are impossible to know!

As fate would have it, with Jac flailing wildly, trying to knock his glasses off his face, the only thing clear was that Jac could see nothing as he careened my ‘57 Ford into a parked car, stripping the passenger side of its mirror and every strip of chrome down the side (along with the paint) and re-shaping the whole side of that old Ford!

I knew none of this while I sat [at Jac's] waiting for Jac to come back from a visit to his doctor to get some Asthma medication for his trip to California, borrowing my car to do it. Next thing I know is Jac walking through the door saying, “I have some bad news…”

“A bee flew in the window, into my eye as I was driving, and stung me.” “Well, gee, that's bad luck,” I offered, asking if he was okay. Jac said, “Yeah, I’m okay, but that's not the bad news! The bad news is I wrecked your car!”

WTF ... “Are you crazy, out of your mind, or what!?” I screamed.

I ran out to see the damage, and sure ‘nuff, the whole side was stripped down to metal. I saw my one and only chance of getting out of Baltimore going up in a billowing, hopeless smoke.

I blew my top and took off madder than a hive full of hornets. If I stayed, God knows what I might have done to Jac. I slammed his front door so hard, the panes of glass shattered and I heard his mom say, “He's crazy! I don't want you going to California with him!” I remember thinking, “What 'California'? We're not going anywhere now.” But Jac came running out, yelling, “It’s okay, man, it’s okay. I'll still trade it in for the bus.”

About that time, Mike came walking up and asked, “What happened to Randy's car?” Jac tried to explain. Jac told Mike the story and how he and Mike were still going to pull off the trade deal! Jac said, “It’s simple! There’s a hill above the car dealer. All we do is start the cars rolling from the top of the hill, drift them into the dealership, and hide the damaged side of the Ford by stopping it beside one of the cars in the lot, close enough so no one can get between them.”

As I listened intently and with some amazement, Jac told me, “Don't worry! We're going to California!”

Next morning, the cars were pushed in train-like fashion by me in Jac’s mom’s car, Jac in my car, and Mike in the front with his car. Once I pushed them over the top, I was to wait there until they came back.

Twenty minutes later, Jac comes pulling up beside me in the red VW van, saying, “Let’s go to California!”

They said it went off without a hitch. They drifted the cars in, one following the other, and parked so the damaged side wasn't visible. And the dealer came out holding the keys to the VW van, handed them to Jac, and he and Mike got out of there and never looked back! I was in disbelief they actually pulled it off.

Next morning we were on the road to California! We made it all the way to Tennessee before pulling over for the night. Then, the next morning, we drove all day into Georgia. We were looking for a place to pull off the road to sleep as Jac was driving. I was sitting shotgun, while Mike sat on one of the amps. Jac saw a break on the roadside that looked good to pull off. I saw a sign and- ever the one to never miss a good opportunity for some fun, I said “What's that sign say?,” knowing it was a bit distant to make out. Just as Jac pulled off onto some soft grass that took a steep bumpy drop, I said, “Oh my God! It says, ‘Danger, Quicksand’!”

I sold it hook, line, and sinker.

You never saw bodies grow wings so fast in your life, while I chuckled my tail off! Hahaha! I've never forgotten what an expression of sheer panic looks like since. It was a small payback. :-)

That was the beginning of a few years of insanity with my band The Fender IV becoming Sons of Adam.

Best to you all,

Randy Holden

That was great! It's a shame there was no way to follow-up with the guy who purchased the scratched vehicle. I'd have really enjoyed to see his face when he realized what happened! A huge thank you goes to Randy for taking the time to share this hilarious story with us. I think it's definitely one of the funniest we've received!

To visit Randy's personal website, click here.
If you'd like to purchase any of Randy's work, please visit here.
To see the other posts on A Bit Like You And Me that have featured Randy's playing, click here.

And now that you've enjoyed this exclusive story, why not check out what other exclusive stories we've received?



album art

Sons of Adam - Saturday's Son (1966)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Thirteenth child of a thirteenth child
Born in the back streets and growing up wild
Thirteenth son of a thirteenth son
What was my sin or what have I done?

Why am I cursed to walk alone?
Where is the love that I’ve never known?
No hand is open, there is no one
For the thirteenth child, Saturday’s son

Thirteen letters spell my name
Born with a shriek and a scream of pain
Thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day
Left with a mark that will stay and stay

Why am I cursed to walk this land?
Searching for one friendly hand
There’s no pleasure, not one bit of fun
For the thirteenth child, Saturday’s son

Somebody, somewhere, help me please
And say just one kind word for me
And let the spell become undone
For the thirteenth child, Saturday’s son

Woah, Saturday’s son
Yeah, Saturday’s son

June 20, 2013

Russ Giguere - Rosarita Beach Café (1971)

Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1943, Russ Giguere moved to California with the intentions of making it as a folksinger. Having not yet received a record deal, he was happy to accept the guitarist position offered to him by Terry Kirkman and Jules Alexander, the two eventual co-founders of the band that would become The Association. As a member of The Association, Giguere experienced three number one hits, “Cherish,” “Windy,” and “Never My Love,” as well as numerous other charting hits. In 1971, he decided to part ways with The Association in an attempt to make it as a solo artist. In that same year, he released his one and only solo album, Hexagram 16, on the Warner Bros. label. His solo accomplishments didn’t reach the same regard as those with The Association, so Giguere rejoined when the band reformed together in 1979. These days, Giguere continues performing with the latest lineup of The Association.

Released on Giguere’s Hexagram 16 album, this song appeared as the opening track on the back half of the album. The album was named after a passage in I Ching and featured numerous guest appearances, including Jerry Yester, Larry Knechtel, Bobby Womack, and others. This song, as well as the rest of the album, didn’t make a dent in the charts. Perhaps it was because Giguere’s solo songs didn’t have the same harmonies as his fans came to expect from his time in The Association. Or perhaps it was because they weren’t that good.

album art

Russ Giguere - Rosarita Beach Café (1971)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Tennessee sour mash whiskey on my breath
Rosalie, Susie, and Lucy on my mind
I drove my old car down
The dusty streets of this old border town
I didn’t know I'd get stuck such a long, long time

It was one of those hot, dry, dime-a-dozen down along the Baja days
I fell through the door of the Rosarita Beach Café
I got myself a table with a view of the breakers in the bay
Ice-cold Dos Equis on the way

I got a million dollar bill
And they can't change it
And they won't let me leave until my tab is paid
So I might as well settle down
And buy the house another round
I’m a permanent guest of the Rosarita Beach Café

Well, I got a real nice table with a view of the breakers in the bay
I sit here; I drink myself into a daze
I soon fell in with thugs and thieves
And gamblers from the beach
Well the devil himself, he offered all-night game
But the night wind came along
Like a dark-eyed señorita's song
Blew my straight flush out across the waves

I've got a million dollar bill
And they can't change it
And they won't let me leave until my tab is paid
So, I might as well settle down
Yeah, and buy the town another round
I’m the permanent guest ‘round the Rosarita Beach Café

With a bottle and a table at the Rosarita Beach Café

June 19, 2013

The Astronauts - Baja (1963)

Bob Demmon and Jon “Storm” Patterson were friends in Boulder, Colorado when they got together with Rich Fifield, Dennis Lindsey, and Jim Gallagher to form The Storm Troopers. When friends and family told the band that that name was a little too harsh sounding, resembling the fascist Third Reich, they turned to their new local hero for inspiration. Scott Carpenter, a Boulder, Colorado astronaut, had brought pride to the city of Boulder by becoming the second American to orbit the Earth and the fourth American ever in space. The band chose the name The Astronauts and cut their first single in 1962, “Come Along Baby.” When they got the attention of an RCA Records executive, the band was quickly signed and they released their most popular song, heard below, in early 1963. The success of their hit led to numerous appearances on television, full-length albums, and numerous surf-movie appearances. When RCA found out that the band was out-selling the biggest surf group of the era, The Beach Boys, in Japan, they quickly arranged for the band to tour there with The Ventures. What resulted were five albums and three singles making Japan’s Top 10, with “Movin’” (renamed to “Over the Sun”) reaching the number one spot. Dennis and Jim were drafted into Vietnam in 1967, being replaced by Rod Jenkins and Mark Bretz. Soon, Bob quit the band and was briefly replaced by Robert McLerian. After a tour of Asia in 1968, original members Storm Patterson and Rich Fifield decided to retire the band.

Not having been known to have stellar vocals, the band usually shined its brightest when performing instrumentals. This song, written by Lee Hazlewood, had been intended by its author to be given to his friend, Al Casey, to record, but it never panned out. Instead, the song was released by this band in early 1963, where it reached number ninety-four on the Billboard Top 100. It was the band’s highest charting song and best-known release in the USA.

album art

The Astronauts - Baja (1963)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

(instrumental)

June 18, 2013

Sagittarius - My World Fell Down (1967)

Born in 1938, Gary Usher made a name for himself as a songwriter in the early ‘60s. Perhaps most notably at that time, he co-wrote songs with Brian Wilson for The Beach Boys such as the popular “In My Room.” In 1967, Usher came across a song called “My World Fell Down,” performed by the British band known as The Ivy League. He attempted to give the song to Chad & Jeremy, whom he had been producing for at the time. They refused, opposed to recording work other than their own. Still convinced that the song could be a hit, Usher called up some session musicians to record the song and, upon completion, when he turned it in to Columbia Records, dubbed the non-existent group “Sagittarius” after his own astrological sign. When the song reached number seventy on the Billboard charts, it was considered a success. Columbia, not knowing that there wasn’t really a band behind it, wanted the non-existent group on tour to support the song. At that point, Usher had to confess that there wasn’t actually a band. Attempting to continue the success of the Sagittarius name, Usher began recording material himself, using the Sagittarius name. What resulted were two albums attributed to Sagittarius, a band that never truly existed.

As stated above, Gary Usher had done a lot of collaboration with Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Also mentioned above is that this song was created by a group of session musicians. What combines these two facts into something very interesting is some of the session musicians used were friends Usher had made through Brian Wilson: Glen Campbell, Bruce Johnston, and Terry Melcher. Although never officially a member of The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell was Brian Wilson’s replacement on a Beach Boys tour from December 1964 until March 1965. Bruce Johnston, on the other hand, was an official member of The Beach Boys, having replaced Campbell on the aforementioned tour and later joining the group full-time in the studio. Lastly, Terry Melcher had been associated with The Beach Boys having done record producing for them (as well as for The Byrds).

All three men playing on this song had previously contributed to The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, so it should go without saying that when this song was released less than one year later, it carried a heavy influence from those sessions. All having worked so closely with Brian Wilson, some people refer to this song as a reflection of Brian Wilson’s genius, channeled through the playing of his protégés.

album art

Sagittarius - My World Fell Down (1967)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Just like the breath of spring
You came my way
I heard a bluebird sing
But not today

‘cause it’s wintertime
And the leaves are brown
Since you went away
My world fell down
(My world fell down)
(My world fell down)
Fell down

I see your suitcase lyin’
Packed up to go
I stop myself from cryin’
How, I don’t know

‘cause it’s wintertime
And the leaves are brown
Since you went away
My world fell down
(My world fell down)
(My world fell down)
Fell down

Wish I didn’t feel like winter
‘cause spring’s a better thing, I know
I know I’d feel so much better
If I could only let her go

‘cause it’s wintertime
And the leaves are brown
Since you went away
My world fell down
(My world fell down)
(My world fell down)
Fell down

‘cause it’s wintertime
And the leaves are brown
Since you went away
My world fell down
(My world fell down)
(My world fell down)
Fell down

June 17, 2013

The Pastels - Been So Long (1957)

In 1954, DiFosco “Dee” Ervin, Jr., Richard Travis, Tony Thomas, and Jimmy Willingham were all stationed at a local base in Narsarssuak, Greenland as members of the U.S. Air Force. Together, they formed a doo-wop outfit and reached local acclaim after performing at the local military affairs. Within a couple of years, all four members of the group were transferred to a base located in Washington D.C., where they eventually shone at the “Tops in Blue” Air Force talent show. They decided to make a run at getting a record deal and were successfully signed by the small Hull Records around 1956. In total, the quartet released three singles: one top five hit heard below, and two less successful follow-ups. In early 1959, the group decided to disband.

Ervin, Jr., whose name may have actually been Defosca Erwin by some accounts, would later have a successful solo career. He would go by the stage name Dee Erwin, was called Big Dee Irwin, and recorded a successful 1963 duet cover of Bing Crosby's 1944 "Swinging on a Star" with Little Eva.

Released in November 1957 on the Hull label, this song was the group’s most successful release. Written by Ervin, Jr., the song got the attention of Chess Records, who decided to release the single nationally on their Argo subsidiary label. The new release of the song reached number four on the R&B charts in early 1958 and even reached number twenty-four on the Billboard pop charts.

album art

The Pastels - Been So Long (1957)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Been so long
(Been so long)
Since I held you tight
(Held you tight)
Been so long since
(Been so long)
Since I kissed you goodnight
The blues are mine

Been so long
(Been so long)
My hours seemed like years
(Seemed like years)
Been so long
(Been so long)
I shed precious tears
The blues are mine

I never ever
Thought I'd fall in love like this
I need your arms
That warmth of your sweet kiss

Been so long
(Been so long)
I need you, oh, so bad
(Oh, so bad)
Been so long
(Been so long)
My heart is sad
The blues are mine

June 14, 2013

Kaleidoscope - (Love Song) For Annie (1969)

Kaleidoscope is no stranger to this website, as they’ve been recognized for their great music here more than once before. Be sure to read up on the previous posts if you’re unfamiliar with this band and their phenomenal body of work.

After the hype died down from the release of the band’s debut album, Tangerine Dream, in 1967, the band followed up with the 1968 release of their single “Jenny Artichoke”/“Just How Much You Are.” In the same year, they took to touring heavily around Europe in an effort to boost their record sales, which unfortunately hadn’t met expectations. While in the Netherlands, they opened for Country Joe and the Fish. In August of 1968, the band began recording the tracks for their second album, Faintly Blowing, which featured a much harder approach to their usually dreamy psychedelic style. Unfortunately, despite this new, harder image, the album failed to chart. Having frustrated Fontana Records, the band was next forced to record two songs written by Fontana’s staff writers, taking the writing privilege away from band member Peter Daltrey. Distraught with being forced in a direction they didn’t like, the band called it quits. Their last appearance under the Kaleidoscope name was August 21st, 1968. Luckily, the band continued on under the name Fairfield Parlour.

The song heard below the story, released on the Faintly Blowing album, was released in April 1969 and never charted. As with all of the band’s songs, the lyrics were written by lead vocalist Peter Daltrey, and the music was arranged by lead guitarist Eddy Pumer.



A Special Edition post with Peter Daltrey of Kaleidoscope & Fairfield Parlour!

When you think of Kaleidoscope, the first thing that comes to mind is the amazing imagery in the lyrics. Those lyrics were Peter Daltrey's. Peter was the lead vocalist and lyrics for both Kaleidoscope and its reincarnated Fairfield Parlour. If you'd like a colorful window into Peter's early years, check out the story he was kind enough to share with us. When you're done, check out "(Love Song) For Annie" below.
A Bit Like You And Me and readers,

I was asked just the other day what my earliest formative musical influences were.

Let’s go back to 1962; I think that’s early enough!

My mate Les and I used to go to see the rock shows that toured Britain, appearing at the cinema chains. You’d see five or six acts on the same bill. Each would do their hit and a couple of other songs and then scuttle off stage to make way for the next, latest sensation. Again, my memory fails me. I would love to recall the acts I saw, but they’ve vanished into some dingy corner of my soggy cerebellum. I know we did see people like Chuck Berry, Del Shannon, Dion, and I can never forget two acts in particular: Gene Vincent and Billy Fury.

An electric, palpable hum of expectation preceded Vincent’s appearance. He was announced to a blacked-out theatre; we all cheered and then we heard this scraping sound. Then the spots came on and there was Gene with his trademark, crooked-man pose, hanging onto the mike stand. “Beebop a lula, she’s ah my baby..." What a cool guy. Greasy quiff; chiselled, craggy, white face; baby blue, satin shirt; tight black pants -- and a shimmering metal brace holding his leg together. Vincent had been in the car the night Eddie Cochran got mashed. Old Gene, he busted his leg good ‘n’ proper. So now he had to drag it around like some death trophy, a constant reminder of the night the Grim Reaper took the great Cochran up the three steps to heaven.

A few years later, I was walking down a West End street when a black taxi pulled up beside me. The door opened and out stepped an oldish guy in a long, coffee-coloured raincoat. But it was the metal leg I saw first. I looked up and there was sweet Gene – older but no less handsome. Tired eyes just glimpsed behind prerequisite shades, that firm jaw, that liquorice slick hair. He hobbled into an office doorway, his coat tails flashing, and was gone – leaving me gaping and speechless in his rock-legend wake. I wanted to shake his hand, thank him for, well, everything I guess: the music, the excitement, the day dreams of emulating the broken rock ‘n’ roll iconography that he created. But the door swung closed and I never saw him again.

The night we saw Billy Fury is engraved in gold lame on my brain. Again, a rumbling hush of anticipation, the announcement, the plush red curtains pull back, the band kicks in -- and there is this glimmering, dazzling, blindingly handsome creature: Billy Fury. He’s wearing a bronze, silk Italian suit that ripples like holy water. He’s better looking than Jesus. He sneers like an angel. The girls are dying. The boys are open-mouthed not believing what they’re seeing. His perfectly unkempt golden quiff. The devil glint of his eyes. His genuine rock voice: cool, broken, aching. And his very tight trousers! My God! What’s that!? The management pulled the curtain on him. After what must have been a heated discussion in the wings, the show started again with Fury slightly less furious in the pants department. What a night.

Turns out, Billy was a quiet, shy, reticent guy who would rather spend his days petting his horses than being mauled by packs of panting schoolgirls. And then along came guitar bands and wrecked the careers of so many handsome crooners with dodgy, made-up names. And then Billy died.

Like a million teenage boys, I’d dreamt of being in a band- no, that’s not true. I’d dreamt of being center stage, blinded by the spotlight, writhing against the silver mast of a microphone stand with a thousand girls screaming, mine for the taking. Nancy boy dreamer.

In many ways, I have achieved that dream that engulfed me when I was eighteen: I’m a singer, albeit mostly unheard by the masses. That’s okay. I still have ambitions. I want to write just one song that is half as good as anything that Buddy Holly recorded. He is my musical hero. A brilliant artist cut down literally in his prime. You can listen to any Holly track today and it still sounds as fresh as on the day poor Buddy stood up in the studio and sang his heart out. (Listen to “Dreaming of Holly” on the album I recorded with sweet Damien Youth, Tattoo www.rocketgirl.co.uk )

And then just last month, I find myself one late afternoon standing in a deserted street in Lubbock, Texas, the falling sun at my back, dust on my boots, and the stars in my eyes. I’m banging on the door of The Buddy Holly Center. But Buddy ain’t home; no-one’s home. Closed.

I stand outside faintly amused by the giant, black spectacles- the fading mural of The Crickets on the grubby wall of a roadside cafe. But this is Buddy’s hometown. He would have ridden his motorbike down this street- taken a girl to that cinema. But was probably too young to have sunk a beer in that bar.

His oversized statue towers over me. I feel small and humbled in his shadow. But as I walk away, “Raining In My Heart” is echoing through my brain, electrifying as always. The music is timeless.

“You could have lived for a thousand years in your own clear light,” I sang on “Dreaming of Holly.” Now I truly believe it.

Peter Daltrey

A huge 'thank you' to Peter Daltrey for taking the time to share this story with us. It's always nice to hear about the people who inspired our favorite artists. Peter's vivid accounts of his youth painted quite the picture!

To see Peter's site, click here.
To see the site for Kaleidoscope/Fairfield Parlour, click here.
To like Kaleidoscope on Facebook and be kept up with the latest news, click here.

And now that you've enjoyed this exclusive story, why not check out what other exclusive stories we've received?



album art

Kaleidoscope - (Love Song) For Annie (1969)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Come, all ye non-believers, feel the creases in her brow
Look once and then you'll know she was not very loud
Touch her eyes and feel the shadows growing on her face
Take seconds to catch your breath before you slow the pace

Come, all ye non-believers, but leave your books behind
Your knowledge is wasted here, for love there's always time
Reach out for emptiness as she crowds you from the room
Let falling tears paint your face but don't do it too soon

Take time for Annie
She would love to see your face
Be kind for Annie
Spread out a little place

Come, all ye non-believers, break the bread and drink the wine
Give her your baited breath, for love there's always time
Fall down around her feet, let her walk upon your hands
Let your tears be like a sea, do everything you can

Take time for Annie
She would love to see your face
Be kind for Annie
Spread out a little place
Listen
But forever is a time you'll never know

Come, all ye non-believers, break the bread and drink the wine
Give her your baited breath, for love there's always time
Fall down around her feet, let her walk upon your hands
Let your tears be like a sea, do everything you can

June 13, 2013

The Wildflower - Baby Dear (1967)

Haigh-Ashbury was one of the biggest music scenes in the 1960s. Starting as a predominately folk sound around 1965, the area was slowly twisted into a haven for psychedelia and hippies. By the time it was being written about in the magazines circa ’67, ’68, and ‘69, some of the local musicians there from the beginning thought that it was getting spoiled. Amongst those there from the beginning was this band, starting like everyone else with a folk noise and graduating into psychedelic rock. Created in 1965, the band was made up of John Jennings (bass), Stephen Ehret (rhythm guitar), Tom Ellis (drums), Teddy Schneider (percussion), and Lee Chandler (guitar). Lee Chandler was replaced by Michael Brown relatively early on when Chandler left to pursue an acting career. The band was good enough to play at the famed Red Dog Saloon through 1966, alternating weekends with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Later in the same year, Tom Ellis left the band and was replaced by Larry Duncan. Teddy Schneider parted ways with the band just before they headed to Canada with The Youngbloods to record some tracks. To the dismay of his bandmates, Michael Brown decided to quit the band and pursue acting. They tried to carry on without him, but when John Jennings was busted for possession of marijuana, he had to quit the band and get a steady job to convince the judge that he shouldn’t be thrown in jail. This ultimately splintered the band, which had yet to have their break out hit.

With words written by poet, lyricist, and friend to the band Michael McClure and the music written by band member Stephen Ehret, this song was generally the song chosen by the band to open their shows. Although the song went uncharted, it was one of the many great songs put out by this band and is still one of their most recognizable songs. With no charted songs to their name, despite some wonderful talent, the band passed into obscurity and became overshadowed by their more successful San Francisco contemporaries.

album art

The Wildflower - Baby Dear (1966)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Vision blouse branch honey lip
Down inside that glowing slip
Baby Dear, I love your boots
Lace beam space and turquoise ear
Rainbow neon toes in there
Down inside your leather boots

Baby Dear
(Baby Dear)
And there’s nothing there to fear
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
And there’s nothing there to fear
And there’s nothing there to fear

Vision blouse branch honey lip
Down inside that glowing slip
Baby Dear, I love your boots
Lace beam space and turquoise ear
Rainbow neon toes in there
Down inside your leather boots

Baby Dear
(Baby Dear)
And there’s nothing there to fear
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
And there’s nothing there to fear
And there’s nothing there to fear

June 12, 2013

The Monkees - Mommy and Daddy [Original Lyrics] (1969)

In early 1969, Peter Tork left The Monkees. He claimed his reason was exhaustion, but with rising tensions amongst the group members and his absence from the band lasting until 1986, it was probably much more than that. Continuing on without Tork, the remaining group members, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Michael Nesmith, created their seventh album, Instant Replay. In October 1969, their eighth studio album, The Monkees Present, was released. This eighth album would prove to be Nesmith’s last, as he had been working on creating a country-rock band called the First National Band. With The Monkees down to just Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz, they headed to New York in 1970 to create their ninth, and last, studio album. Titled Changes, the album was released in June 1970 to public indifference. Shortly after, the two remaining members lost the rights to the band’s name and their last single was credited to a (misspelled) “Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones.” Although the band would reunite and record new albums in the years to come, this was the end of the initial incarnation of the band.

This song, written by Micky Dolenz, was considered far too edgy for 1969, let alone for the band’s innocuous appearance and reputation. The final version of the song, upon its initial release on the The Monkees Present album in 1969, had been stripped of numerous controversial verses which Dolenz had written. When the song was again released as the B-Side to the “Good Clean Fun” single, it was again only presented in its watered-down form. The particular version heard below is the demo recorded by Dolenz, Jones, and Nesmith, featuring all of the lyrics the author had initially written. Differences heard in this version that were missing on the album and single include references to the war in Vietnam, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, drug use, and sexual reproduction.

album art

The Monkees - Mommy and Daddy [Original Lyrics] (1969)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Ask your mommy and daddy
“What happened to the Indian?”
Ask your mommy and daddy
To tell you where you really came from
Then mommy and daddy
Will probably quickly turn and walk away
Then ask your mommy and daddy
“Who really killed J.F.K.?”

Ask your mommy
If she really gets off on all her pills
Ask your daddy
“Why doesn't that soldier care who he kills?”
After they've put you to sleep
And tucked you safely down in your bed
Whisper, “Mommy and daddy”
“Would it matter if the bullet went through my head?”

“If it was my blood spilling on the kitchen floor?”
“If it was my blood, mommy, would you care a little more?”
Don't be surprised when they turn and start to cry

And tell your mommy and daddy
(Tell your mommy and daddy)
Scream it to your mommy and daddy
They're living in a lie, lie, lie
It's all a lie, it’s all a lie
Lie, lie, lie
It’s all- it’s all- it’s all
Lie, lie, lie
It’s all a lie
Lie, lie, lie
It’s all a lie, lie, lie
Lie, lie, lie…

June 11, 2013

Tom & Jerry - Hey, Schoolgirl (1957)

“Tom” and “Jerry” had known each other ever since childhood, having grown up just three blocks apart in Queens, New York. While still in elementary school, sixth grade, they were both cast in the Alice in Wonderland school play. Later, they attended Parsons Junior High and Forest Hills High School. In their junior year, 1957, the pair began performing as “Tom & Jerry,” using the record company-appointed stage-names of Tom Graph and Jerry Landis. Although they had been writing songs together as early as 1955, it wasn’t until 1957 that they recorded their first song, heard below, which became a big hit. Dedicated to becoming “rock and roll” singers, the duo tried various aliases and band names, such as Tico & the Triumphs, with only lukewarm success. Upon completing high school, the pair split and went to different colleges, later reuniting in the Greenwich Village scene, having both been infatuated with the growing folk movement. From there, the duo began recording again, but decided to use their real names: Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, from then on known together as Simon & Garfunkel.

Released in 1957, this song was written by both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel for Sid Prosen at Big Records. Featuring the B-Side “Dancin’ Wild,” the song reached number forty-nine on the charts and sold over one hundred thousand copies. As confirmed by Simon and Garfunkel, and rather apparent from the recording, the duo was heavily influenced at the time by The Everly Brothers. “Tom & Jerry” performed the song on American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, after the rise in its popularity.

album art

Tom & Jerry - Hey, Schoolgirl (1957)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Woo, boppa-loocha-bah
You’re mine
I say woo, boppa-loocha-bah
You’re mine

Hey, schoolgirl in the second row
The teacher’s lookin’ over
So I gotta whisper way down low
You say, “woo, boppa-loocha-bah”
“Let’s meet after school at three”

She said, “Hey, baby, there’s a’one thing more”
“School is over at half past four”
“Maybe when we’re older, then we can date”
Ooh, “Let’s wait”

Hey, schoolgirl in the second row
The teacher’s lookin’ over
So I gotta whisper way down low
You say, “woo, boppa-loocha-bah”
“Let’s meet after school at three”

She said, “Hey, babe, I got a lot to do”
“It takes me hours when my homework’s through”
“Someday we’ll go steady, so don’t you fret”
Ooh, “Not yet”

Hey, schoolgirl in the second row
The teacher’s lookin’ over
So I gotta whisper way down low
You say, “woo, boppa-loocha-bah”
“Let’s meet after school at three”

Then she turned around to me with that gleam in her eye
She said, “I’m sorry if I passed you by”
“I’m gonna skip my homework, gonna cut my class”
“Bug out of here real fast”

Hey school girl in the second row
Now we’re goin’ steady
Hear the words that I want you to know
Well it’s, “Woo, boppa-loocha-bah, you’re mine”
I knew it all the time

Woo, boppa-loocha-bah, ah ha, you’re mine
Woo, boppa-loocha-bah, ah ha, you’re mine
Woo, boppa-loocha-bah, ah ha, you’re mine
Woo, boppa-loocha-bah, ah ha, you’re mine
Woo, boppa-loocha-bah, ah ha, you’re mine…

June 10, 2013

Harpers Bizarre - The Biggest Night of Her Life (1967)

When a Santa Cruz, California band known as The Tikis signed up with Autumn Records, they released two moderately successful singles. In early 1967, their record producer, Lenny Waronker, decided to have the band record a track written by Paul Simon. The track, “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” which had already been released by Simon & Garfunkel, was put together with a new arrangement by Leon Russell and recorded by the band. When it came time for the song to be released, they chose to change their band name and settled on a pun which referenced Harper’s Bazaar magazine, the name seen above. The song reached number thirteen and became the band’s signature song. They quickly released a full-length album and continued to release new, less successful material over the next few years. Once, on Halloween in 1969, the band was taking a flight back home to San Francisco when the plane was hijacked. Luckily, no one was hurt and the band was released safely (along with everyone else) in Denver, Colorado. After four full-length albums and ten singles, the band couldn’t match the same success of “Feelin’ Groovy” and decided to split up at the end of 1969.

Released on the band’s second album, Anything Goes, this song was written by an ex-member of the band when it was known as The Tikis: Randy Newman. Newman, along with Van Dyke Parks and Harry Nilsson, had been working with the band as arrangers and/or session musicians. The Anything Goes album was released in December 1967.

album art

Harpers Bizarre - The Biggest Night of Her Life (1967)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Susie’s goin’ out tonight
To a sixteenth birthday party
Her shoes are pink, her dress is white
And she’s a beautiful sight to see
And you can bet it will be
The biggest night of her life

Susie’s got a boy she likes
And his name is Tom Van Fleet
And Susie’s parents think he’s nice
‘cause his hair is always neat
And tonight’s gonna be
The biggest night of his life

Two kids out dancin’
Having fun ‘til the sun comes up
In a high school sweater and a paper hat
What could be wrong with that?

Susie’s goin’ out tonight
To a promise she must keep
She thought about it all last night
And she was too excited to sleep
And you can bet it will be
The biggest night of her life

Susie’s goin’ out tonight
To a sixteenth birthday party
Her shoes are pink, her dress is white
And she’s a beautiful sight to see
And tonight’s gonna be
The biggest night of her life

You can bet it will be
The biggest night of her life

(You bet it will be)
The biggest night of her life

(You bet it will be)
The biggest night of her life

June 07, 2013

The Nightcrawlers - Sally in Our Alley (1966)

Having previously written about this band, you may want to check out our previous post, The Nightcrawlers - The Little Black Egg (1965), which featured the band’s most famous song, “The Little Black Egg.” It’s also a topic in the story given to us by Sylvan Wells below, so you may want to visit that page and give the song a listen if you’re unfamiliar with it.

Today’s song, as heard below Sylvan’s story, was released on the band’s compilation album, titled The Little Black Egg after their hit song, and released in the year 2000. The compilation is largely made up of songs from the band's only full-length album, The Little Black Egg (1967), and the singles released by the band. I'm not certain, but I don't believe this song was ever released as a single or on their sole album. I believe it was first released to the public on the 2000 compilation album, despite having been presumably recorded in 1966.



A Special Edition post with Sylvan Wells of The Nightcrawlers!

I was fortunate enough to recently make contact with Sylvan Wells, one of the original members of The Nightcrawlers. Sylvan was kind enough to take the time away from his latest endeavor, making guitars, to share a very interesting story from his time with his band.
A Bit Like You And Me and readers,

I thought I would share with you a story that I fondly remember most of all in my days with The Nightcrawlers. All of us went to high school in Daytona Beach, Florida. At the time we started, we had no idea that Daytona Beach was becoming a hotbed for musical talent. We were all just high school friends who decided to start a band in late 1964 while we all went to the local Junior College. The original Nightcrawlers were Rob Rouse, Pete Thomason, Tom Ruger, Chuck Conlon, and Sylvan Wells; and our manager was Mike Stone. All the members are still great friends to this day. That, in itself, is pretty amazing!

There was only one other band in the town then and they became our friendly, but serious competition. They were much better musicians than we were, but we were writing our own material, largely because we were not good enough to learn to play most of the material on the radio. We were friends, but rivals. I learned a lot (and needed it) from their very sharing, lead guitar player.

But, we got lucky first and secured a regular Saturday night job from September of that year, 1964, until just past Easter of 1965. Playing every week at a guaranteed place and with a huge crowd forced us to keep writing better material and performing better and better. We had fun, but we also got good.

At the same time, on the other side of town, the other band played sporadically at another recreation center. Often, when we finished our job, we would go see them play. But the entire crowd was always at our place. The other band just couldn’t get anyone (but other musicians) to come see them.

In any event, our two bands were invited to open for The Beach Boys at our local ball park the Saturday night before Easter (1965). This was a big deal to us; our first chance to play with a major act. That Saturday afternoon, both Daytona Beach bands set up their equipment on opposite sides of the main stage. We laughed and nervously joked around most of the afternoon. We ultimately decided, together, that we would end our respective openings with both bands taking their respective stages and alternating verses to Ray Charles’ “What I Say.” It was going to be fun!

In the meantime, we had written a catchy guitar lick for a song that our lyricist and singer, Chuck Conlon, was told to make about Easter. We would introduce it that night as being written specially for the Easter concert. He came up with lyrics for “The Little Black Egg.” The lyrics had absolutely nothing to do with Easter (or anything else for that matter). Collectively, the band did not think much of the song; rather, we figured it would be a throwaway just for The Beach Boys' Easter concert.

That night we were introduced and played for the first time “The Little Black Egg.” The crowd loved it! To say we were shocked would have been an understatement! In spite of our ambivalence for the song, it became the band’s signature. We had other singles, but nothing approached [the success of] “The Little Black Egg.” And the song has had enormous staying power. There are countless YouTube videos of people performing it. As I write this almost forty-eight years later, “The Little Black Egg” has been covered by over thirty groups, including Tommy James, The Music Explosion, The Cars, and countless others (including one cover in Mandarin Chinese!). We certainly never expected it!

Oh, the other band that opened with us that night? Back then they were called The Escorts (Maynard Portwood, Van Harrison, and Gregg and Duane Allman). You know them today as The Allman Brothers Band.

Sylvan Wells

Please take a look at the guitars I make for musicians today! See www.WellsGuitars.com and www.BayStateGuitar.com for more information!

Wow! Did you see that coming? I was hoping that The Nightcrawlers' friendly local rivals were somebody famous, but I didn't expect to hear that it was Duane and Gregg Allman. How cool is that? Many, many thanks to Sylvan for his generosity and time sharing this great story.

There's a documentary about the band called Cracking the Egg: The Untold Story of The Nightcrawlers, but I can't seem to find a trustworthy website that sells it. If you're interested, you may want to search the web looking for it. In the meantime, I'll keep from posting any links until a reliable source can provide a trustworthy link toward purchasing the documentary.

To visit Sylvan Wells' websites about making guitars, be sure to visit www.WellsGuitars.com and www.BayStateGuitar.com.

And now that you've enjoyed this exclusive story, why not check out what other exclusive stories we've received?



album art

The Nightcrawlers - Sally in Our Alley (1966)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Of all the girls that are so smart
There’s none like pretty Sally
She is the darling of my heart
And she lives in our alley

There’s ne’er a lady in the land
That’s half as sweet as Sally
She is the darling of my heart
And she lives in our alley

Why won’t she love me?
Please tell me why
Why won’t she give me
The chance to make her cry?

They’ve come today
Took her away
They took my pretty Sally

She is the darling of my heart
And she lives in our alley

Why won’t she love me?
Please tell me why
Why won’t she give me
The chance to make her cry?

They’ve come today
Took her away
They took my pretty Sally

She is the darling of my heart
And she lives in our alley

And she lives in our alley

June 06, 2013

The Steve Miller Band - My Dark Hour (1969)

Although most of their hits came in the ‘70s and ‘80s (“The Joker,” 1973; “Take the Money and Run,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” 1976; and “Abracadabra,” 1982), this band has actually been around since 1967. Originally known as The Steve Miller Blues Band when they were put together in San Francisco, the band was initially a blues outfit that dabbled with psychedelic rock and hard rock. As The Steve Miller Blues Band, they had opened for Chuck Berry at the Fillmore West and performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. For the band’s first seven albums, they used a hard rock and blues style that didn’t garner them much success. It wasn’t until their 1973 album, The Joker (now having its 40th anniversary) that the band decided to create the mainstream sound which they’re now remembered for. With nearly forty people having been members of this band, it’s easy to imagine how often the band’s lineup has altered over the years. Only Steve Miller himself has been constant throughout their long history and he continues to perform to this day.

On Friday May 9, 1969, Steve Miller walked into a studio at Olympic Sound Studios in London, which he assumed was empty. When he noticed Paul McCartney sitting inside, he asked if the room was free. McCartney, who had just had a big fight with all of the other members of The Beatles over whether or not they would hire Allen Klein as their manager, replied, “Well, it looks like it is now, mate.” Wanting to get some of his frustrations out, McCartney asked Miller if he could accompany him by playing the drums. Naturally, Miller obliged and he (Miller) began to play the song heard below. What resulted was a collaboration composed entirely of Steve Miller and Paul McCartney. McCartney played bass, drums, and sang backup, whereas Miller performed the lead vocals and played all of the other instruments. The heavy drumming emphasis is attributed to McCartney releasing his stress. When it came time for crediting him, he chose to use the pseudonym "Paul Ramon," a name which had had previously used while touring Scotland with The Beatles in 1960, when they were still going by the name The Silver Beetles.

The song was released as a single, but failed to chart. It also appeared on the June 1969 album, Brave New World. Seven years after this song was released, Miller would revive its primary guitar riff for his monumental 1976 hit, “Fly Like an Eagle.” Considering McCartney went uncredited for the song it was originally used in, I wonder what the chances are that he contributed to this now-famous riff.

album art

The Steve Miller Band - My Dark Hour (1969)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

My dark hour
My dark hour
You know it's drivin' me wild

Well, well, I went to see the doctor
And I had my fortune read
And you know the doctor told me
“Son, you better stay in bed”

Who's that comin’ down that road?
Looks like he's carryin’ a heavy load
What is that word that he’s startin’ to say?
“Want to come with me on my way?”

My dark hour
A Mother Nature's child
My dark hour
Oh, it's drivin’ me wild

Well, I went to see the doctor
Just to have my fortune read
Well, well, well, well, well, the doctor told me
“Son, you better stay in bed”

So, do you think these sinners will fall?
Or do you think they'll survive us all?
Well, well, well, well, now, down this road
Won’t you help me carry my load?

My dark hour
A Mother Nature's child
My dark hour
Oh, it's drivin’ me wild

Mother Nature’s child
Yeah!

Yeah!

June 05, 2013

Skip Spence - Little Hands (1969)

Born Alexander Lee Spence in Ontario, Canada 1946, this multi-talented singer, songwriter, and musician lived a life overwhelmed by drugs, alcohol, and mental insanity. In the late 1950s, while still a young child, “Skip” and his family moved to San Jose, California because of a job his father landed. Around the age of eighteen or nineteen, Skip joined up with a brand new local music act, Quicksilver Messenger Service. Just as quickly as he had joined them, Skip was plucked from Quicksilver before they had even played their first gig. He had been persuaded by Marty Balin to not only join his in-the-works band, but also convinced him to switch from guitar to drums. Balin’s budding group, which eventually was named Jefferson Airplane, featured Skip on their debut album Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. In March 1966, Skip was asked to leave Jefferson Airplane along with their manager, Matthew Katz. Katz, who was called a greedy entrepreneur seeking fortune by his former act, convinced Skip to start his own band in a Jefferson Airplane-styled fashion and Moby Grape was born.

Around 1968, Skip began taking LSD and his behavior quickly became more erratic and unpredictable. According to bandmates, Skip began to hang with a bad crowd that was into “harder drugs and a harder lifestyle.” It’s unknown what all the drugs were that Spence was taking at that time, but what is known is that he showed up at a hotel in New York where his bandmates were staying, wielding a fire axe. After holding the axe to the doorman’s head, Skip went up to his bandmate Jerry Miller’s room and tried to chop through the room’s door. He was apparently attempting to kill bandmates Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson to “save them from themselves.” Naturally, after charges were pressed, Spence found himself involuntarily locked in Bellevue, an insane asylum located in New York, New York.

During his six month stint at the insane asylum, Spence was diagnosed with schizophrenia, possibly triggered by his years of heavily abusing mind-altering psychedelic drugs. While locked up, Skip spent most of his time writing an album, which he would later go on to record in Nashville, Tennessee after his release. The song heard below was written by Spence while instituted at the Bellevue insane asylum. It was recorded by Spence, who played all of the instruments on the album, in December 1968 under the impression that he was recording a demo to be fleshed out with full production later on. Instead, the album, titled Oar, was released exactly as it was recorded on May 19, 1969.

album art

Skip Spence - Little Hands (1969)

Loading the ABLYAM player...(Might not work on mobile devices)


Lyrics:

Little hands clappin’
Children are laughin’
Little hands clappin’
All over the world

Piper is pipin’
Drummers are drummin’
Little hands clappin’
All over the world

Little hands clappin’
Children are sharin’
Little loves lovin’
All little boys and girls

Children are singin’
Truths that they're bringin’
Freedom is ringin’
All around the world

Come, let’s meet them
Yes, we will greet them

Little hands clappin’
Children are carin’
Piper is callin’
All over the world

Out in the street
The sick that you meet
How many friends do
You call your own?

Come, let us meet them
Yes, we will greet them

Children are clappin’
Children are carin’
Children are shatterin’
Records and rules

Little hands carin’
Little hands sharin’
The old ones and the gold one
And the family jewels

Come, let us meet them
Yes, we will greet them

Little hands clappin’
Children are happy
Little hands lovin’
All 'round the world

Little hands claspin’
Truth they are graspin’
A world with no pain
For one and all

And they are learnin’
Their souls, they are yearnin’
A nice place to play
And no place to fall

Come, let us meet them
Yes, we will greet them