A Bit Like You And Me Radio

November 21, 2014

The Masters Apprentices - Wars or Hands of Time (1966)

This band was originally formed in 1964 under the name The Mustangs in Adelaide, Australia. Starting out as a surf outfit, the group transitioned into beat music after experiencing The Beatles’ June 1964 tour of Australia. Although members of the band would often be rotated out, the group managed to achieve immense popularity throughout Australia, making television appearances and regularly selling out concerts in neighboring cities. In late ’65, the band decided to rename themselves to “The Masters Apprentices” (sic), claiming to be the apprentices of legends such as Robert Johnson, Bo Diddley, and Chuck Berry.

By 1966, the band was offered a chance at a record deal with Astor Records, provided that they submitted a four-track demo. Only have three songs, members Mick Bower and Rick Morrison wrote the track “Undecided” in fifteen minutes. With another fifteen minutes, the track was recorded and finalized, meeting the requirements of a demo put forth by Astor.

By August 1966, the band had made their way to beat-burgeoning Melbourne in an effort to expand their musical reach. It was a few months later in October that they released their first single, featuring “Undecided” as the A-Side and “Wars or Hands of Time,” the song heard below, on its reverse. Thanks to local support from radio DJs, the single became a huge success in the coming months of 1967.

Written by the band’s Mick Bower, “Wars or Hands of Time” was the first anti-Vietnam song released in Australia. It was inspired by the fact that Australia had recently begun drafting young males for the Vietnam conflict in 1965. Since its release, the song has become an Australian classic and sold well worldwide.

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The Masters Apprentices - Wars or Hands of Time (1966)

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Lyrics:

Though I have to go, I will be thinking of you
When I'm far away, try to remember what I said
The day I live, I’ll still be dreaming of your love

Wait for the clouds to pass your way
Wait for me; I'll be back some day

At dusk we said goodbye; you said you'd try hard not to cry
But I could feel a chill fall lonely on my shoulder
In the wind on the beach where someday I'll return

Wait for the clouds to pass your way
Wait for me; I'll be back some day

Wars or hands of time will not destroy our dreams of days
That are to come; our tears were shed with understanding
Don't be sad, I'll catch the wind on home to you

Wait for the clouds to pass your way
Wait for me; I'll be back some day

November 14, 2014

The Tokens - Tonight I Fell In Love (1961)

This doo-wop group was first assembled under the name the Linc-Tones in 1955 while its members attended Abraham Lincoln High School together in Brooklyn, New York. One of the original members was Neil Sedaka, who would go on to become a huge star in his own right; but, by 1957, Sedaka and nearly all of the other original members of the band had parted ways, leaving behind only Hank Medress as the sole original member.

In 1960, the group welcomed brothers Mitch and Phil Margo to fill the void. At the time of his acceptance into the group, Mitch Margo was only thirteen years old and already a multi-instrumentalist. By February 1961, the group released the song heard below, which had been co-written by the young Mitch Margo, his brother Phil, and Hank Medress. The song reached number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100, and created the opportunity for the group to appear on American Bandstand. The popularity which they achieved from appearing on the television show provided the group with the opportunity to further their careers by recording what would become their most famous song: a cover of Solomon Linda’s “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

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The Tokens - Tonight I Fell In Love (1961)

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Lyrics:

(Tonight I fell in love)

Tonight, tonight I fell in love
I want the stars above
To know tonight I fell in love

Tonight, I gave my heart away
True love is here to stay
'cause tonight I fell in love

Oh, what a wonder
This magic spell I'm under
This feeling that I feel
Is it really real?
My heart beats so fast
I pray that it will last
'til the end of time

(Tonight I fell in love)

Tonight, oh, may it last forever
Forever and ever
Yes, tonight I fell in love
Yes, tonight I fell in love
Yes, tonight I fell in love

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

July 15, 2014

The Apollas - I'm Under the Influence of Love (1967)

In 1961, five young women brought their voices together and began calling themselves The Apollos. Over the next four years, the members in the group came and went as they released singles for the likes of Galaxy Records and Tiger Records, using group names like The Apollos, Leola & The Love Joys, and The Love Joys. None of their material during this time charted.

By 1965, the roster of the group had been solidified to include Leola Jiles, Ella Jamerson, and Billie Barnum. Leola Jiles and Ella Jamerson had come from Louisiana and Georgia, respectively, while Billie Barnum was the sister of pianist and child actor H. B. Barnum. The girls also made the final decision to use the name The Apollas.

The girls were signed to Loma Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records, which had been opened the previous year in 1964 to combat with the success of Motown. Loma tried to promote the girls, but the general public didn’t seem to notice because record sales were quite poor. Despite having wonderful talent and vocal power, the girls never managed to chart a single one of their many songs.

In 1968, The Apollas made their last recording for Loma and folded soon after. In the same year, Loma was absorbed into their parent company, Warner Bros. Records. All three members of the group continued their careers by becoming back-up singers for acts such as Van Dyke Parks, Lionel Richie, and others. As of the date of this post, all three members still reside in California.

The song below was released by The Apollas in 1967. It was written primarily by Barry White, with help from Paul Leo Politi. The song was produced by Dick Glasser of Loma Records and notably arranged by Gene Page, who had been responsible for arranging songs for countless big acts of the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.

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The Apollas - I'm Under the Influence of Love (1967)

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Lyrics:

Walking on a cloud
Feeling high
It happens every time
Whenever I’m with my guy

I’m tripping on love
And it feels so good
I can’t help myself
And I wouldn’t if I could

‘cause he’s got that certain touch
That I’m a addicted to
Love’s really got a hold on me
And there ain’t nothing I can do

I’m under the influence of love
And I know there ain’t no doubt about it
I’m under the influence of love
And I know I just can’t live without it

I need another dose
Can’t get enough
I’ve just got to have
All of my baby’s love

And when I’m alone
Feeling sad and blue
He gives me a shot of love
And I’m as good as new

Helpless as I am
Ask me if I don’t care
His tenderness is what I miss
Whenever he’s not here

I’m under the influence of love
And I know there ain’t no doubt about it
(Yeah, yeah)
I’m under the influence of love
And I know I just can’t live without it

There ain’t no other guy
Who can bring out the love in me
So many guys have divine
He’s the only one I see

I’m under the influence of love
And I know there ain’t no doubt about it
(Yeah, yeah)
I’m under the influence of love
And I know I just can’t live without it
(Baby, yeah)

I’m under the influence of love
And I know there ain’t no doubt about it
I’m under the influence of love
And I know I just can’t live without it
(Yeah, yeah)

I’m under the influence of love
And I know there ain’t no doubt about it
(Yeah, yeah)
I’m under the influence of love…

July 11, 2014

The Lemon Pipers - Everything Is You (1968)

The Lemon Pipers, as previously mentioned, were victims in a never-ending struggle between what they wanted to play versus what their record company wanted them to play. They wanted to be a rock outfit infused with psychedelics; their label, Buddah Records, wanted them to record what would later be called bubblegum pop. To get their foot in the door, the band recorded a song given to them by their label, “Green Tambourine,” and it shot straight to number one. Not happy with their new pop label, the success of the song led the band toward being faced with an ultimatum: to either record more money-making bubblegum pop music, or get dropped from their label.

With their backs to the wall, the group agreed to record more bubblegum pop singles. However, there was a little victory for the band when it came time to record albums. With a bit of pleading, the band was sometimes able to put a little bit of their own rock and psychedelic flavor into some songs, or even able to record some of the songs they had written themselves. Unfortunately, the bubblegum songs that were handed to them were generally the more favorable tracks with the public.

The song heard below was one of the songs given to the band to record. It was written for them by Paul Leka, the same man who had co-written “Green Tambourine” for the band. Leka was a prominent song-writer and arranger, having also notably written “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” for Steam. Although the song below didn’t top the charts like “Green Tambourine,” it’s still considered one of the band’s (and Leka’s) more notable tracks.

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The Lemon Pipers - Everything Is You (1968)

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Lyrics:

I don’t need the sun to shine on me every day
All I need is your love to brighten up my way
You don’ have to say the words “I love you” every day
As long as you stand by my side, I know you’re here to stay

I no longer live in dreams, since I have found “everything” is you
You gave me life to change my world, since I have found “everything” is you

Now and then, I need your kiss- temptations all around
But most of all, I need you near when I’m feeling down
You make me smile; you make me laugh; you’re my favorite clown
I treasure nights we spend together, making silent sounds

Now I no longer live in dreams, since I have found “everything” is you
You gave me life to change my world, since I have found “everything” is you

June 26, 2014

The Atlantics - Come On (1967)

This long-tenured band was formed in the southern side of Sydney, Australia in 1961. Located near Sydney’s beaches, the group gravitated toward the sounds of surf rock and would later go on to become among the first in their genre, in Australia, to write their own songs. They took their name from a local gas station company and had their most popular lineup finalized by 1962. There was Theo Penglis on lead and rhythm guitar; Jim Skaithitis on guitar; Bosco Bosanac on bass; and Peter Hood on drums.

The band was unique from other Australian instrumental acts in the sense that they were heavily influenced by European sounds. Each of the members had moved to Australia from Europe as youths, and their music reflected their families’ heritages (Greece, Yugoslavia, and Hungary). The band was signed to CBS Records in 1963 and released nine successful singles and three albums, the most notable single being “Bombora” in 1963.

In 1965, the band added vocalist and ‘50s rocker Johnny Rebb. A few singles and albums later, in March 1967, the band released the song heard below. It was written by the band’s drummer, Peter Hood, and sang by the latest addition to the band, Johnny Rebb. It was featured as the B-Side of a single which had “You Tell Me Why,” a cover of a song made popular by The Beau Brummels, as the A-Side.

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The Atlantics - Come On (1967)

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Lyrics:

Work all day- get an aching back
I work so hard, my blisters turn black
I got to buy you everything
Should I buy you a golden ring?

Without your lovin’
I couldn't carry on
Without your kissin’
How could my life go on?
Without you baby
My dreams would never come true

So come on!
And love me
Come on!
And kiss me
Come on!
And give me all of your charms
Because I love you baby
You know I need you baby
And I give you all the loving a woman can want

I'm gonna slave until the day
When I know that I can say
“Girl, I love you, will you wear my ring?”
“I'm gonna buy you everything”

Without your lovin’
I couldn't carry on
Without your kissin’
How could my life go on?
Without you baby
My dreams would never come true

So come on!
And love me
Come on!
And kiss me
Come on!
And give me all of your charms
Because I love you baby
You know I need you baby
And I give you all the loving a woman can want

June 24, 2014

Jackson C. Frank - Blues Run the Game (1965)

Jackson C. Frank was born in Buffalo, New York in 1943. Although Frank and his family had briefly moved out to Ohio when he was a boy, they made their return to New York when he was eleven, moving to a town called Cheektowaga. Here, Frank attended a newly built school, Cleveland Hill Elementary, where the first of many tragedies would affect his life. While attending music class in 1954, a furnace exploded in the wooden annex where Frank and his classmates were being taught. Fifteen of Frank’s sixth-grade classmates died in the resulting fire, and Frank himself was hospitalized for seven months from the severe burns, which covered fifty percent of his body. (Not only was he physically scarred for the remainder of his life, but the mobility of his hands was decreased, making it that much more impressive that he could play the guitar as well as he did.) While hospitalized, one of Frank’s teachers, Charlie Castelli, brought an acoustic guitar to the hospital to try and keep Frank’s spirits lively. It was from this kind gesture that Jackson C. Frank became interested in playing guitar.

At age thirteen, Jackson’s mother had agreed to take him to Graceland (the home of Elvis Presley) in Tennessee. While viewing the home from outside, Elvis himself unexpectedly started walking down the driveway. He was kind to Jackson, shook his hand, took a photograph with him, and even invited him inside to meet his own parents. It was one of the few high points in Jackson’s life, which would be overwhelmed with numerous lows.

Jackson C. Frank
Photo credit.

When Frank turned twenty-one in 1964, he received an insurance check for the injuries he sustained from the fire in his youth, totaling $110,500. His girlfriend of the time, Katherine Henry, noticed that it was almost immediately that Jackson’s behavior began to change. He thought- and was partly correct- that everyone was out to get his money. Friends took advantage of him; people looked to his wallet for investments; and Frank generally gave in. When Katherine told him she was breaking up with him and moving to England, Jackson decided to go with her. They took a boat to England and, not even six months later, the couple (who had remained together) accidentally became pregnant. They mutually agreed that Katherine should have an abortion and went back to New York together. Through one of Jackson’s ex-girlfriends, they were sent to a doctor in Washington DC where the illegal abortion was carried out. Between the stress from the procedure and the realization that their relationship wasn’t that strong, Katherine chose to end their relationship once and for all. She convinced Jackson to return to England without her.

Katherine Henry and Jackson C. Frank
Photo credit.

Newly single, Jackson had more free time to look for career opportunities. He began to play coffee houses around England and befriended a woman named Judith Piepe. It was then that Piepe introduced Jackson to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, who were staying with her in her apartment. When Jackson played some of his music for the duo, Simon was reportedly so impressed that he offered to produce Frank’s first album. Simon kept his word when Jackson secured a record deal with Columbia. Interestingly, when it came time to record the album, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, and Al Stewart were all in attendance, and Frank was reportedly so nervous he had to have screens put up around him in order to play, because he couldn’t concentrate with everyone watching him. The album, self-titled Jackson C. Frank, was recorded in its entirety in less than three hours and released in the UK in December 1965.

The album was well received by the folk community, who regularly requested it on John Peel’s BBC radio show. The requests became so frequent that Peel contacted Frank directly and got him to perform songs live on the radio show, numerous times.

With his connections in London, Frank became acquainted with some of the biggest folk names coming to the city: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and many others. He also became the go-to guy for up and coming American folk singers arriving in the city and looking for opportunities. He would often buy them dinner and help support them, knowing the difficulties of trying to make it as a folk artist. It was around this time that he became very close friends with a London-born nursing student who was trying to make it as a folk artist, Sandy Denny. Jackson and Sandy soon became an item and Jackson appeared on some of her earliest recorded material.

By 1968, Frank’s peak seemed to come to an end. The numbers had been coming back from the release of his album in the United States and it did very, very poorly. To make matters worse, his album sales in the UK were declining due to the public’s shifting interest toward psychedelic and hard rock. And after years of generosity, his insurance money was finally starting to run out. When he attempted to write new material for a second album, he was stricken with writer’s block. What songs he was able to compose were met with only lukewarm responses when performed at the coffeehouses. With what little money he had left from the insurance claim, Frank moved back the United States, no longer with Denny, and took residence in Woodstock, New York.

While living in Woodstock in the early 1970s, Frank met Elaine Sedgwick, a former model. The two fell in love, were married, and had two children: a son and a daughter, Angeline. With heartbreak, the couple lost their only son at an early age to cystic fibrosis. Having been on the brink of emotional instability from the fire experienced in his youth, the death of Frank’s son was enough to cause him to mentally crack. The death of their son also caused Jackson and Elaine’s marriage to crumble, which threw Jackson into a further state of depression.

It wasn’t until 1977 that Frank started to make a mental recovery and began recording new music. Unfortunately, when he attempted to have his music picked up by a record studio, he was consistently met with negative feedback. This time, Frank fell back into a depression much worse than before, while his ailing body grew weaker from the injuries sustained at the fire so many years ago. He was eventually hospitalized for both emotional and physical reasons before he was able to move back home with his mother.

In 1984, Frank left for New York City in a desperate attempt to find Paul Simon, who he felt could help boost his career. When what little money he had ran out before he could find him, he was forced to sleep on the streets. For the next few years, Jackson lived on the streets, homeless, poor, and facing numerous physical ailments related to the Cleveland Hill Elementary fire from his youth. After years on the streets, Frank was finally picked up by the state and transported to a mental institute called Simmonds Court in Woodstock, New York.

In the early 1990s, a fan of Frank’s by the name of Jim Abbott located him and tried to get him back on his feet. Having only seen the picture of him from his album, he was stunned to see that Frank had become vastly overweight, scruffy, and disheveled looking. The weight had been brought on from a problem with his thyroid, which was one of the many physical problems attributed to the fire when he was eleven. To add insult to injury, it wasn’t long after Abbott tracked Frank down that Frank lost sight in his left eye, as he was the victim of a group of kids who decided to shoot an air soft rifle at random strangers.

To help Frank, Abbott was able to track down some of the royalty money owed to Frank from his 1965 album, which was still moderately popular in places in Europe. He was also responsible for getting Frank taken out of the mental institution and put into a home for senior citizens. Lastly, Abbott was able to get Frank back in the recording studio to record new material, as well as getting all of his old material re-released on CD- this time accompanied by previously unreleased demos. On March 3, 1999, just one day after his fifty-sixth birthday, Jackson C. Frank passed away from pneumonia and cardiac arrest in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Jackson C. Frank
Photo credit.

The song heard below was the opening track to Frank’s debut, eponymous titled album, recorded in July 1965 and released in December 1965. Considering the fame of artists such as Simon & Garfunkel and the obscurity of Jackson C. Frank, it's quite possible you've heard this song before by a different artist. It was written and composed by Frank, and as such, his version is the original. Since its initial release, the song has become a blues/folk standard and has been covered by numerous artists, including the previously mentioned Simon and Garfunkel, as well as Sandy Denny, Nick Drake, the Counting Crows, John Mayer, and many, many others.

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Jackson C. Frank - Blues Run the Game (1965)

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Lyrics:

Catch a boat to England, baby
Maybe to Spain
Wherever I have gone
Wherever I’ve been and gone
Wherever I have gone
The blues are all the same

Send out for whiskey, baby
Send out for gin
Me and room service, honey
Me and room service, babe
Me and room service
Well, we’re livin’ a life of sin

When I’m not drinkin’, baby
You are on my mind
When I’m not sleepin’, honey
When I ain’t sleepin’, mama
When I’m not sleepin’
You know you’ll find me cryin’

Try another city, baby
Another town
Wherever I have gone
Wherever I’ve been and gone
Wherever I have gone
The blues come followin’ down

Livin’ is a gamble, baby
Lovin’s much the same
Wherever I have played
Whenever I throw them dice
Wherever I have played
The blues have run the game

Maybe tomorrow, honey
Someplace down the line
I’ll wake up older
So much older, mama
I’ll wake up older
And I’ll just stop all my tryin’

Catch a boat to England, baby
Maybe to Spain
Wherever I have gone
Wherever I’ve been and gone
Wherever I have gone
The blues are all the same

June 19, 2014

Group 1850 - Mother No-Head (1967)

In November 1964, Hugo Gordijn went to the basement of a bowling alley in Scheveningen, in The Hague, in the Netherlands to see a band called The Klits. Led by Peter Sjardin, the Dutch band hired Gordijn to be their manager. On New Year’s Day in 1966, the band renamed themselves Groep 1850, or, “Group 1850” if you prefer it in English. They consisted of Peter Sjardin on vocals, flute, and organ; Daniel van Bergen on guitar and piano; Ruud van Buuren and Rob de Rijke on bass; and Beer Klaasse on drums.

The band released six singles and two full-length albums in what remained of the 1960s, sans a year-long break-up beginning somewhere in 1968. They didn’t get a ton of exposure and predominately remained a “garage” type band, so it’s presumable that a career highlight for them may have been getting to open for The Mothers of Invention in September 1967 at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

Written by Hans van Hemert and Peter Sjardin, this song was the A-Side of a single released by the band in late December 1967. Like the rest of the world, the band was heavily into psychedelic rock and fell into the more “acid” rock genre of the period. They sounded a bit like the earlier Pink Floyd, even featuring some progressive rock aspects which were far ahead of their time.

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Group 1850 - Mother No-Head (1967)

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Lyrics:

Who is crying?
Who is dying?
She is mad
She is sad
It is Mother No-Head
It is Mother No-Head
She is dead
She is dead


Who is crying?
Who is dying?
She is mad
She is sad today
It is Mother No-Head
It is Mother No-Head
But she is dead
She is dead
Yes

Who is crying?
Who is dying?
She is mad and
She is sad today
It is Mother No-Head
It is Mother No-Head
She is dead
She is dead today

She is dead today
She is dead today…

June 17, 2014

The Zombies - The Way I Feel Inside (1965)

As The Zombies toured around the United States playing songs like “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No” as a part of the British Invasion, they began to simultaneously record the songs for what would be their first full-length album. Recorded throughout the latter half of 1964, the band recorded over twenty tracks, with a near amount of self-written material and rhythm & blues songs originally performed by other artists. The powers that be whittled down the track listing for the album’s UK release, where it was given the title Begin Here. Over in the US, the album was retitled The Zombies and the track listing differed slightly. First released in 1965, Begin Here was considered a disappointment. So much so, that although the group had recorded plenty enough material for there to be a follow-up album, most of the songs were shelved and went unreleased for years.

The song heard below was one of the tracks which made the cut for the band’s Begin Here album. It was written by the band’s organist, Rod Argent, who also happened to be a founding member. The song is primarily done in a capella, although an organ does make a soft appearance toward the end. Besides being released on Begin Here in March 1965, the song was also released as the B-Side of The Zombies' single “Gotta Get a Hold of Myself,” which failed to chart after its UK-only release in September 1966.

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The Zombies - The Way I Feel Inside (1965)

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Lyrics:

Should I try to hide
The way I feel inside my heart for you?

Would you say that you
Would try to love me, too?

In your mind
Could you ever be
Really close to me?
I can tell the way you smile

If I feel that I could be certain, then
I would say the things I want to say tonight

But ‘til I can see
That you'd really care for me
I will dream that someday you'll be
Really close to me
I can tell the way you smile

If I feel that I could be certain, then
I would say the things I want to say tonight

But ‘til I can see
That you'd really care for me
I'll keep trying to hide
The way I feel inside

June 12, 2014

Barry Mann - Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp) (1961)

Barry Mann has written over six hundred thirty-five songs. Out of them, forty-six have been played more than a million times on the radio. He co-wrote “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (for The Righteous Brothers); “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (for The Animals); numerous songs for movies (Top Gun, Christmas Vacation, etc.); and many, many others.

Despite his accomplished career as a songwriter, Mann sometimes took the spotlight and sang songs, as well. In 1961, he sang the song heard below, which he had co-written with Gerry Goffin. The lyrics of this novelty song tell the somewhat true tale of how doo-wop music led his girl to fall in love with him. In a sense, this was true, as Mann and his future wife/songwriting partner, Cynthia Weil, had worked together writing doo-wop songs for groups of the time.

The song was released the same month that Mann and Weil got married, August 1961, and reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. Songs referenced in this track, via various onomatopoeias, include The Marcels’ “Blue Moon,” The Diamonds’ “Little Darlin’,” Chubby Checker’s “Pony Time,” and The Edsels’ “Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong.”

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Barry Mann - Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp) (1961)

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Lyrics:

I’d like to thank the guy
Who wrote the song
That made my baby fall in love with me

Who put the “bomp”
In the “bomp ba bomp ba bomp”?
Who put the “ram”
In the “rama-lama-ding-dong”?
Who put the “bop”
In the “bop shoo bop shoo bop”?
Who put the “dip”
In the “dip-da-dip-da-dip”?
Who was that man?
I’d like to shake his hand
He made my baby fall in love with me
(Yeah)

When my baby heard
“Bomp ba ba bomp”
“Ba bomp ba bomp ba”
Every word went right into her heart
And when she heard them singin’
“Rama lama lama lama”
“Lama ding dong”
She said we’d never have to part

So
Who put the “bomp”
In the “bomp ba bomp ba bomp”?
Who put the “ram”
In the “rama-lama-ding-dong”?
Who put the “bop”
In the “bop shoo bop shoo bop”?
Who put the “dip”
In the “dip-da-dip-da-dip”?
Who was that man?
I’d like to shake his hand
He made my baby fall in love with me
(Yeah)

Each time that we’re alone
“Boogity boogity boogity”
“Boogity boogity boogity shoop”
Sets my baby’s heart all aglow
And every time we dance to
“Dip da dip da dip”
“Dip da dip da dip”
She always says she loves me so

So
Who put the “bomp”
In the “bomp ba bomp ba bomp”?
Who put the “ram”
In the “rama-lama-ding-dong”?
Who put the “bop”
In the “bop shoo bop shoo bop”?
Who put the “dip”
In the “dip-da-dip-da-dip”?
Who was that man?
I’d like to shake his hand
He made my baby fall in love with me
(Yeah)

Darling, bomp ba bomp ba bomp ba bomp bomp. And my honey, rama lama ding dong forever. And when I say, “dip da dip, da dip, da dip,” you know I mean it from the bottom of my boogity boogity boogity shoop.

June 10, 2014

Conlon & The Crawlers - I Won't Tell (1967)

If you’re a fan of ’60s garage classics, there’s a good chance you’ve heard The Nightcrawlers’ “The Little Black Egg” from 1965. If you haven’t, you can listen to the song in our previous post. And while we’re on the subject, you can also read what The Nightcrawlers’ Sylvan Wells had to say about the band and the song in an exclusive story he provided to us.

As mentioned in our previous post, Charlie Conlon (the group’s principal singer, songwriter, and bass player) was asked to leave The Nightcrawlers in late 1966/early 1967. The remaining members of the band attempted to go on without him, but folded after a few months. In the meantime, Charlie Conlon moved from where The Nightcrawlers were based (Daytona, Florida), and relocated to Miami, Florida. Once in Miami, Charlie started a new band: Conlon & The Crawlers. They released two singles on the Marlin label, based in Miami, in 1967, but neither of the songs made much of an impact.

Written by Charlie Conlon, this song was released in March 1967 and accompanied by the B-Side “You’re Comin’ On.” If you’re familiar with “The Little Black Egg,” you’ll definitely hear Conlon attempting to recreate its style in this track. Although it didn’t become a garage classic like his “The Little Black Egg,” it did manage to reach number nineteen on the nearby Orlando, Florida charts.

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Conlon & The Crawlers - I Won't Tell (1967)

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Lyrics:

A teaspoon holds more than the fork does
A long snail eats more than a short one
Let the people find out for themselves
I won’t tell; I won’t tell
I won’t tell them ‘bout it

A three-legged horse won’t beat a fourth one
My ice box cools more than a hot one
Let the flowers find out for themselves
I won’t tell; I won’t tell
I won’t tell

And on the way, I’ll stop by the bay
Because black and green won’t fade away

A teaspoon holds more than the fork does
A long snail eats more than a short one
Let the people find out for themselves
I won’t tell; I won’t tell
I won’t tell
I won’t tell
I won’t tell
I won’t tell
No, I won’t tell
I won’t tell…

June 06, 2014

The Gentle Soul - Flying Thing (1968)

If you haven’t seen our previous post featuring The Gentle Soul, you may want to check that out first. There’s a good, little biography about the group, including the famous names they worked with and why they had to split up. The best part, though, is that it features an interview conducted with half of The Gentle Soul, Pamela Polland.

You’ll notice near the beginning of that post that there was a song The Gentle Soul recorded, which had been written by a fourteen year old Jackson Browne. The song heard below in this post is that song. “Flying Thing” was one of the three songs Jackson Browne had written by the age of fourteen. He wrote the music and lyrics, but the arrangements were done by The Gentle Soul (Pamela Polland and Rick Stanley). It wasn’t released on The Gentle Soul’s only album (probably because it wasn’t written by them, as claimed by Pamela Polland herself), but it was released on one of the two singles the band put out. Unfortunately, like with their rest of their music, the single wasn’t promoted and it made little impact on the charts.



A Special Edition post with Rick Stanley of The Gentle Soul!

After a little over a year of correspondence, I’m proud to announce that The Gentle Soul’s Rick Stanley has supplied numerous stories to share with A Bit Like You And Me. Rick was kind enough to share a bunch of excerpts from an upcoming autobiography he’s writing, titled My Song of Life. There was a very large quantity of material, so I’ve taken the liberty of chopping it down to the very best parts.
Excerpts from My Song of Life by Rick Stanley

[...]Not long after my audition with Stephen [Stills, to try out for Buffalo Springfield], Terry [Melcher] contacted Pamela [Polland] and was raving about the two of us. He wanted to get us in the studio as soon as possible to make a demo for the Columbia Record exec.’s who make the decisions about signing new acts.

What happened next is a bit hazy in my fading memory-pictures, but I think some time passed before Terry had time to get us into the studio. Pamela had already started to recruit other musicians to back us up; and, I somehow ended up in the Valley, staying in a rented house with two of the potential band members: Riley “Wyldflower” Cummings and a drummer from Riley’s sort of Beatle-esque group. They had toured the southwest and one of the groupies latched on to them in Tulsa, by offering the money she received from an insurance claim for her broken leg, so that the drummer could buy a new set of drums. Riley wrote his own songs in the vein of the early Beatles- like “Love Me Do” and “Twist and Shout”- which didn’t interest me at all. It had been done and couldn’t possibly attract a record company or get us on the radio.

Riley was six-foot five-inches tall with wild, light-brown, curly hair and almost always stoned. He was a likable Irish-American, son of a car dealership owner in the valley, and played decent rhythm guitar in the typical pop band genre. But Pam and I were really acoustic folk musicians and I couldn’t understand why she wanted a pop guitar player who couldn’t really sing well enough to add a harmony. I think she just liked him. And so, she would come over and we would practice her songs and a few others in preparation for the Columbia demo with Terry. Meanwhile, we were trying to come up with a name for our group, which is probably more fun than practicing.

The original group with Riley “Wyldflower” Cummings and Sandy Konikoff [before The Gentle Soul was finalized as a duo]


One night, Riley had “scored” a kilo of grass with the groupie’s money and proceeded to lie back on his bed and blow pot smoke into the face of his cat, who just lay there on his chest, looking up at him and throwing cat-kisses with his eyes. Riley said, “He’s such a gentle soul,” and, I jumped on this and said, “That’s the name for our group! ‘The Gentle Soul’!” And so it was! I felt like Riley must have thought that marijuana was a universal balm for all creatures great and small, and that it couldn’t possibly do any harm. The next day, the cat was acting like he’d eaten fifty pounds of cat nip- running, flipping, and jumping in a spastic frenzy- seeing something in la la land and lunging for it, only to flop upside down on his back. He got up and bashed headlong into the patio window and lay there unconscious for a while. I guess the poor thing managed to get out of the house and we never saw it again.

Soon, we all moved in to an old house on Venice Beach that Pam and the groupie managed to lease. Each of us had our own room and I rigged up some bamboo curtains on the walls all around my little abode, and slept on an old mattress with a new cotton cover that I found in a thrift store. Pam still had her own place, but would come over to practice. The groupie and the drummer had the choice room downstairs, and Riley and I had our little rooms upstairs. I was beginning to feel like this wasn’t going anywhere. The drummer didn’t know how to drum and Riley’s main focus was getting high. Anyway, nature doesn’t allow a vacuum to persist, and thus brought a stranger to the house. He arrived when the drummer was away for some reason and proceeded to seduce the groupie without much effort. After four days of being serviced by the stranger, her previous lover returned: the inadequate drummer. The groupie pretended that nothing had happened with the stranger, and offered the attic as her new lover’s bedroom.

The attic was where we practiced, and this didn’t suit lover-boy at all. He never spoke a word to any of us; only the groupie was privy to his profound thoughts. He would just sit and stew when we were up there, making all kinds of bored and inconvenienced expressions, with his little poet’s pad in full view and his pencil sticking out from behind one ear. I didn’t like this asshole’s attitude at all. He didn’t contribute anything for rent, expected to be fed, and all for the price of having sex with the groupie when the drummer wasn’t around. You may be a bit surprised to know who this guy was. It was Jim Morrison- you know, The Doors.

The whole thing finally came to a head when the drummer discovered Jim and his true love going at it in his own bed. He flew into a rage, but ended up begging the groupie to stay with him. It was clear that she finally understood why he wanted her: the bloody drums and the rest of her insurance money to live on, of course! So, that day, he packed up his drums and left the house. Jim didn’t hang around much longer either[...]

Thanks,
Rick Stanley

There is a lot more to tell about Rick's unusual life; check out My Song of Life by Rick Stanley when it comes out. If you want to know when it’s released, just send your email to nr.stan[at]gmail[dot]com.

How hilarious is that? Even though Rick didn't seem to appreciate Jim Morrison's antics, I have to say it sounds pretty amusing all these years later! And it's definitely fun to know that The Gentle Soul's name was helpfully inspired by a cat. A big 'thank you' to Rick Stanley for sharing such interesting excerpts from his forthcoming book, My Song of Life! Be sure to check out the book when it's released, as it contains other stories involving Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Levon Helm, and many, many more!

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



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The Gentle Soul - Flying Thing (1968)

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Lyrics:

She’s a flying thing that sings
With her eyes like smoky rings
And the sun can feel her presence in the sky

And I think I’m gonna stay
‘cause there’s nothin’ in our way
And she says that she can teach me how to fly
(Teach me how to fly)

If I could love her more than I have ever loved before
Then tomorrow I’ll be standing at her door

And when I hear her voice
I have no other choice
But to bend back my head and search the sky

Her hair is spun so fine
Roses fell like laughing wine
And she says that she can teach me how to fly
(Teach me how to fly)

If I could give her all the things she’s never had before
Then tomorrow I’ll be standing at her door

To see her walking by is to see a windy sky
And the clouds reflecting in her eyes

And the softness of her skin
Makes me wonder where I’ve been
And she says that she can teach me how to fly
(Teach me how to fly)

If she could love me more than she has ever loved before
Then tomorrow I’ll be standing at her door

She’s a flying thing that sings
With her eyes like smoky rings
And she says that she can teach me how to fly
(Teach me how to fly)
And she says that she can teach me how to fly
(Teach me how to fly)
And she says that she can teach me how to fly
(Teach me how to fly…)

May 30, 2014

Thunderclap Newman - Something in the Air (1969)

In 1967, The Who decided to record a song, “Armenia City in the Sky,” which had been written for them by the band’s chauffeur, John “Speedy” Keen. It was the only song The Who ever recorded that was written for the band by somebody outside of the band. Speedy Keen also shared an apartment with The Who’s Pete Townshend, who would later be responsible for giving Keen his big break.

In 1969, Townshend wanted to get Speedy Keen in the limelight to expose his talents as a guitarist, drummer, singer, and songwriter. Keen had been working on a song, so Townshend put a group together around him to get it recorded. Speedy Keen sang the lead vocals, played guitar, and played drums. Pete Townshend was under contract with his current label, so he played bass under the pseudonym Bijou Drains, as well as producing. For the rest of the outfit, Townshend brought in fifteen year old Jimmy McCulloch on guitar (who would later join Wings) and an old friend from his art college, Andy “Thunderclap” Newman, on piano. Townshend, at one point, had agreed to work with each of the aforementioned artists, individually. At the persistence of Kit Lambert (manager of The Who), Townshend brought everyone together to fulfill all of his promises at once, giving him more free time to work on The Who’s latest project, Tommy.

Below is the song written by John “Speedy” Keen and performed by the newly put together band. It was originally titled “Revolution,” but was renamed since The Beatles’ had come out with a song with the same title a year prior. Released in May 1969, the song went to number one in the UK for two weeks, holding off releases by both Elvis Presley and The Beatles. By December 1969, it had sold more than a million copies.

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Thunderclap Newman - Something in the Air (1969)

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Lyrics:

Call out the instigators
Because there’s something in the air
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here

And you know it’s right
And you know that it’s right

We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together now

Lock up the streets and houses
Because there’s something in the air
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here

And you know it’s right
And you know that it’s right

We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together now

Hand out the arms and ammo
We’re going to blast our way through here
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here

And you know it’s right
And you know that it’s right

We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together
Now

April 14, 2014

The 31st of February - Morning Dew (1968)

David Brown and Claude “Butch” Trucks had both traveled, separately, from their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida to Tallahassee, Florida after graduating from Englewood High School and enrolling at Florida State University for the 1965 fall semester. They came together when they found themselves living on the same floor of the same dormitory and sharing a mutual interest in the new folk rock sound being pioneered by The Byrds. Together, they teamed up with Scott Boyer, who had also gone to Englewood High School in Jacksonville and had been living in Tallahassee as a professional musician.

The three new bandmates decided to call themselves The Bitter Ind. (Independents) and attempted to find work in Daytona Beach, Florida after Brown and Trucks left school after their freshman year. They struggled, but landing a performance at Club Martinique introduced them to Gregg and Duane Allman, who, at that time, were in a band called the Allman Joys. Their meeting with the two future stars would be paramount to their careers.

After the Daytona show, The Bitter Ind. returned home to Jacksonville, Florida, deflated from a lack of work. Not long after, Butch Trucks received a call from Duane Allman that his band would be in town, playing at a club called the Beachcomber, and needing a drummer to fill in for the night. Trucks played with the band and then convinced the Beachcomber’s manager to allow his band, The Bitter Ind., to perform as well. The manager agreed, liked what he heard, and used the group as his house band through 1967.

After 1967 and the end of the Beachcomber gig, the band decided to change their name, briefly using The Tiffany System before settling on The 31st of February. They relocated to Miami, Florida, signed a record deal with Vanguard Records, and released their first album, The 31st of February, in 1968. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell very well.

The group soon crossed paths with Gregg and Duane Allman once again, who were now members in a band called The Hour Glass. The 31st of February and the Allman brothers joined forces under The 31st of February name and began working on a new album together. Interestingly, one of the tracks on the album was an early version of “Melissa” (which would later be re-recorded by Gregg and Duane Allman as members of The Allman Brothers Band, and released in 1972). But, unfortunately, here in 1968, the album was shelved, never finished when the group split up before finalizing any of the tracks.

It wasn’t until 1972, after Duane and Gregg Allman found success in The Allman Brothers Band, that there became an interest in the members’ previous group. For this reason, The 31st of February’s unfinished second album finally saw the light of day, being released under the title of Duane & Greg Allman (which had misspelled “Gregg”).

The song heard below was the opening track on The 31st of February’s unfinished second album. It was recorded by Scott Boyer, David Brown, Butch Trucks, Duane Allman, and Gregg Allman in 1968, but released in 1972, as mentioned above.

The song itself was written in 1961 by Bonnie Dobson, and first recorded by Dobson in 1962. The lyrics are supposed to represent a conversation between the last man and woman left alive after a nuclear holocaust. Dobson stated that the lyrics were inspired by the 1959 movie titled On the Beach.

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The 31st of February - Morning Dew (1968)

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Lyrics:

Walk me out in the morning dew, my heart
Walk me out in the morning dew, my heart
Though I can't walk you out in the morning dew, my heart
Though I can't walk you out in the morning dew, my heart

Thought I heard a young girl cry, yeah
Thought I heard a young girl cry, yeah
No, you didn't hear no young girl cry at all
No, you didn't hear no young girl cry

Thought I heard a young girl cry, yeah
Thought I heard a young girl cry, yeah
No, you didn't hear no young girl cry
No, you didn't hear no young girl cry at all

Now there is no morning dew
Now there is no morning dew
What they've been sayin’ all these years has come true
What they've been sayin’ all these years has come true

Got no morning dew

April 07, 2014

The Twilights - Cathy, Come Home (1967)

In the 1960s, a town just north of Adelaide in South Australia, called Elizabeth, was largely populated by British emigrants. It was also the hometown of this band and its members, all of whom had been born in Britain but relocated with their families to Elizabeth, Australia. Glenn Shorrock, Mike Sykes, and Clem “Paddy” McCartney came together because of these similar roots and formed an a capella trio in 1965, calling themselves The Twilights. They were often backed by local bands like The Vector Men and The Hurricanes when putting on performances. Eventually, the members of The Twilights and The Hurricanes merged, creating a six man lineup and adopting The Twilights’ name. After a bit of shuffling- still in early 1965- the final group solidified and consisted of Glenn Shorrock, Laurie Pryor, Clem “Paddy” McCartney, John Bywaters, Terry Britten, and Peter Brideoake. Those members remained together until the band dissolved in 1969. Shorrock would go on to participate in other bands, most notably the Little River Band, and Terry Britten became an internationally successful producer and songwriter, writing hits for Tina Turner, Cliff Richard, Olivia Newton-John, Status Quo, Michael Jackson, and many others.

By 1967, the group had relocated to London, donning mod styles and Beatles-inspired mustaches. Glenn Shorrock was quoted as stating that London was very difficult to work in because of all of the extremely talented musicians. He claimed that even bands you had never heard of were incredibly selective.

This song, written by band member Terry Britten, was recorded and released in November 1967. It steadily climbed the charts and plateaued at number four in January 1968. It was written by Britten after having been inspired by the one-off television drama of the same name, Cathy, Come Home, which had been released in November 1966. It was one of the last successful songs released by the band.

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The Twilights - Cathy, Come Home (1967)

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Lyrics:

(Cathy, come home)
(Come)
(Come)
(Come)

Cathy, come home
Can't you see that I need it?
Cathy, come home
You must see it to believe it
Cathy, come home

I found someone to comfort me
Someone who finally let me be myself
My mind, I think, is much too small
To see the writing on the wall is here

Cathy, come home
Can't you see that I need it?
Cathy, come home
You must see it to believe it
Cathy, come home

If seeing is believing, then I see the truth
With you on my mind, I just can't seem to lose
(Lose)

My mind's made up; that's all I see
The writing's plain- as plain can be to me

Cathy's back, now she's all mine
Now everything's just turned out fine for me

Cathy, come home
Can't you see that I need it?
Cathy, come home
You must see it to believe it
Cathy, come home

Cathy, come home
(Cathy, come home)
Cathy, come home
(Cathy, come home)
(Home)
(Home)
(Home)
(Home)
(Home…)

March 11, 2014

The Magic Lanterns - No Milk Today (1968)

This group didn’t get a Top 30 hit until 1968 when they had already been together for six years. In total, the band was able to scrape together three charting songs in the US as well as three in their native UK. But prior to their charting days (which at one point featured Godley & Creme), the band was still hard at work, hoping to make a name for themselves in their home of Warrington, Lancashire. Although the band never really hit the big time, they put together a handful of songs that are definitely worth listening to.

The song heard below was written by Graham Gouldman in 1966 for the band The Hollies, still featuring Graham Nash. Its lyrics, although seemingly strange, had very little to do with milk. Gouldman has been quoted as stating that his father was largely responsible for the message of the song. He said that he and his father had seen a sign on a neighbor’s home, “no milk today,” indicating to the neighborhood milkman that the home wouldn’t need their daily milk delivered for whatever reason. It was expressed to Gouldman by his father that there could be various reasons why the house didn’t require milk on that day. One such reason he hypothesized was that the man who lived in the house had recently been left by his significant other, resulting in less need for milk and adding much depth to the simple sign.

When the song had been passed up by The Hollies, it was given to Herman’s Hermits. It was the second hit song Gouldman had written for Herman’s Hermits (the first being “Listen People,” reaching number three), reaching number seven on the charts. The version of the song heard below was covered by The Magic Lanterns in 1968 for their debut album, Lit Up – with The Magic Lanterns, recorded on CBS Records for distribution in the UK. The most obvious difference made by The Magic Lanterns in their cover is the increase and decrease of tempo.

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The Magic Lanterns - No Milk Today (1968)

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Lyrics:

No milk today
My love has gone away
The bottles stand forlorn
Greeting the summer dawn

“No milk today”
It seems a common sight
The people passing by
Don't know the reason why

How could they know
Just what this message means?
The end of my hopes
The end of all my dreams

How could they know
The palace there had been?
Behind the door
Where my love has been

No milk today
It wasn't always so
The company was gay
We'd turn night into day

As music played
The faster did we dance
We felt it both at once
The start of our romance

How could they know
Just what this message means?
The end of my hope
The end of all my dreams
(Hey!)

How could they know
A palace there had been?
Behind the door
Where my love has been

No milk today
It wasn't always so
The company was gay
We'd turn night into day

As music played
The faster did we dance
We felt it both at once
The start of our romance

How could they know
Just what this message means?
The end of my hope
The end of all my dreams
(Hey!)

How could they know
A palace there had been?
Behind the door
Where my love has been

No milk today
My love has gone away
The bottles stand forlorn
Greeting the summer dawn

“No milk today”
It seems a common sight
The people passing by
Don't know the reason why

March 03, 2014

The Vejtables - I Still Love You (1965)

This folk rock group was started in Millibrae, California in 1964 while its members (Ned Hollis, Bob Bailey, Jan Errico, Rick Dey, and Bob Cole) were still in high school. They began their journey by touring the bars of San Francisco, notably along the famous El Camino Real. When the band put on their live performances, they often surprised audiences by having a female drummer, Jan Errico, who also sang lead. The group was signed to Autumn Records in late 1964 or early 1965 and managed to squeak onto the charts once.

Written by Jan Errico and released in July of 1965, the song heard below was the band’s only track to make it on the charts, albeit near the bottom. The song has a bit of a British vibe to it, as all songs of the era usually did in thanks to The Beatles. It also has a similar sound to The Beau Brummels, which could probably be explained by the fact that The Beau Brummels were on the same label.

By the end of 1965/early 1966, Errico, who at some point had changed her surname to Ashton, parted ways with the group, feeling they were moving in a direction she didn’t agree with. She went on to join The Mojo Men, who had already released a bit of material without Errico, while the rest of The Vejtables began experimenting with the heavy psychedelic sounds that began arriving around 1966. Without Errico and without success, the new lineup disbanded before 1967 had even arrived.

album art

The Vejtables - I Still Love You (1965)

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Lyrics:

I still love you, even though I know I shouldn’t
I still want you, even though I know it wouldn’t
Do me any good to say I love you more each day
But I know now that your love for me has gone astray

When I held you in my arms the other night
I could tell that something just wasn’t right
My love for you was not returned in that same old way
Then, I knew that very soon there would come a day
When I’d lose you

Oh yeah
When I’d lose you

Everyone told me that this would happen some way
But all I did was laugh and say

“Now you’re just jealous”
(Oh yeah)
“‘cause I’ve got a love that’s true”
(Don’t you know?)
But love, I realized
That they were only trying to help me

When I held you in my arms the other night
I could tell that something just wasn’t right
My love for you was not returned in that same old way
Then, I knew that very soon there would come a day
When I’d lose you

Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Oh yeah

February 21, 2014

The Standells - Try It (1967)

Formed in 1962, The Standells are often cold-heartedly labeled as a one-hit wonder. Although it’s true that their only majorly successful song was 1966’s “Dirty Water,” the band and its members still had quite an impact on the pop culture of the 1960s.

Band member Larry Tamblyn was and is the brother of Hollywood actor Russ Tamblyn (and thus the uncle of actress Amber Tamblyn). He was also a classmate and acquaintance of Ritchie Valens. The band's drummer Dick Dodd was an ex-Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club. He was also an ex-member of the surf bands The Bel-Airs (previously featured) and Eddie & The Showmen.

At one point, the band featured backing vocals by Cher while being produced by Sonny Bono. They also appeared in the movie Get Yourself a College Girl, as well as the television shows The Munsters, That Regis Philbin Show, American Bandstand, and Shindig!. And all of this was prior to “Dirty Water” in 1966. After “Dirty Water,” the band continued their success with “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” and “Why Pick On Me” before hitting a brick wall in early 1967. The name of the brick wall was Gordon McLendon.

After the major success of “Dirty Water” and minor success of “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” (which you can hear on our site) and “Why Pick On Me” in late 1966, the band had released “Try It,” and watched it grow in popularity. Unfortunately for the group, a radio mogul named Gordon McLendon had chosen this song, written by Marc Bellack and J. Levine, as his prime target in a national campaign to rid the music industry of “filth” and “dirty lyrics.” Our featured story below extrapolates more on the story, straight from the mouth of The Standells’ Larry Tamblyn himself. After reading what Larry had to say, you can listen to “Try It” below and come to your own conclusions.



A Special Edition post with Larry Tamblyn of The Standells!

Today's exclusive story comes from Larry Tamblyn, the organist of the garage rock legends, The Standells. Larry chose to share an interesting history regarding his band's song "Try It" from 1967.
A Bit Like You And Me and readers,

The song “Try It” was The Standells’ third single after “Dirty Water.” It was also featured on the album Try It – The Standells. We thought it would be our next hit. Billboard magazine agreed; they deemed the song as our next number one hit for The Standells, and I feel it would have been had it not been for Gordon McLendon.

McLendon was a very powerful man back then- the owner of the radio station KLIF in Dallas, TX. He also had many ties to right-wing politicians and was known to have been a friend of Jack Ruby, the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald. Many people were frightened of McLendon. He had formed a committee for decency in record lyrics and felt the lyrics to “Try It” encouraged young girls to try sex. Conversely, the song actually had some of the tamest lyrics of many rock songs in those days, like "Let's Spend the Night Together" by The Rolling Stones.

But, McLendon decided to pick on The Standells (because we weren't as big as The Stones). He embarked on a national campaign, visiting major television news stations, and showing our record as an example of filthy record lyrics. Even though the record was the number one seller in many markets, including Los Angeles, most of the radio stations actually listened to McLendon and refused to play it. We investigated McLendon and, of course, discovered he was a major hypocrite. We even debated him on Art Linkletter's House Party, by most accounts defeating him handily; but, to no avail. The song died - and so did the group's popularity and hopes of another hit record.

You can find more details about McLendon on The Standells’ Facebook page. If you visit the photo library “Standells 1962-1969,” you’ll find an L.A. Free Press interview done with me.

Best,
Larry Tamblyn

As I told Larry, it's a real shame that guys like McLendon were out to make a name for themselves at the expense of bands like The Standells. Who knows what could have success could have sprung from the popularity of "Try It"? In my own personal research, I've read that the debate between The Standells and Gordon McLendon on Art Linkletter's Let's Talk segment of his show House Party was severely edited. The band supposedly defeated McLendon so badly in the debate, that the producers of the show heavily edited it to prevent the argument from being too one-sided when it aired.

To visit The Standells' webpage, click here.
To visit The Standells' Facebook page, click here.
To visit The Standells' Twitter page, click here.

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



album art

The Standells - Try It (1967)

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Lyrics:

Alright, baby
It’s alright
I’m gonna tell you somethin’ and you better listen


By the way you look I can tell that you want some action
“Action” is my middle name
Come over here, pretty girl
I’ll give you satisfaction
But two are needed for this game
I’ll give you sweet love you never had before, yeah
You think you’ve seen it all
But you don’t know what’s in store

Come on, try it (Yeah)
Try it (Yeah)
Try it (Yeah)
Try it (Yeah)

You look excited and you figure that it’s just a bluff
Don’t you dare walk away
I’ll get you, tough little chick, before you fall in love
Come here, girl, what do you say?
Just give the word and my good lovin’ will start
I’ll serve a feverish pitch that’s headed straight for your heart, yeah

Come on, try it (Yeah)
Try it (Yeah)
Try it (Yeah)
Try it, baby (Yeah)

Alright
You got me
Aw, you got me
Aw, come on


Girl, once you’ve made up your mind
You’re gonna see that I’m not lyin’

Come on, try it (Yeah)
Try it (Yeah)
Try it (Yeah)
Try it, baby (Yeah)
Try it (Yeah)
Aw, come on, try it (Yeah)
Oh, try it (Yeah)
Oh, try it (Yeah)
Come on, come on, come on (Yeah)
Come on, come on, come on