Monday, June 30, 2008

GEORGE EDWARDS - Norwegian Wood / Never Mind, I'm Freezing - Dunwich - 1966

Once again, here's a record I picked up for totally superficial reasons. During one of my thrift store rummages I found a record on the Dunwich label with a song titled 'Never Mind, I'm Freezing' by some guy I'd never heard of before. Seeing that the flip side was another cover of 'Norwegian Wood' didn't exactly inspire confidence, but the record was a buck, making it worth checking out something else from the Dunwich label with a cool song title.

Here's the problem though: My first experience with Dunwich was the Shadows of Knight 'Gloria / Dark Side' 45, so without fully realizing it, I put this record on expecting something similar, some garage-y filth, or at least something mean. So... I played the record, catagorized it almost immediately as sappy folk, and didn't even bother listening to what was surely a shitty version of a Beatles song. I took the record off and shoved it into a box where it sat for quite some time.

Then a few months ago, for whatever reason, I decided to pull this single out and give it another shot. What a difference a change of perspective makes. I actually started wondering what the hell was up my ass when I first listened and met this record with such disdain. Never Mind... certainly isn't as nasty as the title may suggest, but it's still a pretty good song, negative but charming, in the folky, light-psych vein. After a few more listens it grew on me a bit more, now I actually dig the song.

I was impressed enough to try out the other side (actually it's A-side) and see if this guy could come close to pulling off a Lennon tune. Well, it's not great, but much better than I had expected. He does the song justice and there's a pretty cool sounding harpsichord part. Not a total failure, as I had expected.

With just a touch of research I learned that George actually sang backups on the Shadows of Knight recording 'Oh Yeah' which was recorded directly after the Never Mind single was finished. After his very brief solo career he started H.P. Lovecraft and had a bit more success with that.

It's not worth going crazy to try to find, but I'd suggest picking it up if you ever happen to come across this little slab.


(Side Note: Actual picture is coming soon-ish (my copy of the record isn't pictured.). Sadly, I have very limited access to my records & the internet right now, as I technically don't live anywhere in particular, so the blog may be neglected until I have my shit re-situated. It won't be abandoned though.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

THE MIGHTY HANNIBAL - Hymn No. 5 / Fishin' Pole - Josie - 1966

Woo child, I got fuzz in my brains this morning. Went out last night to meet Benoit at some shitty magazine's launch party, hurdled the spazz with the guestlist and drank as much free Belvedere as possible until the place was dry. Now I have the luxury of being hungover at work, sitting next to the goon with a chain wallet who picks his nose and chokes up phlegm all day, staring at a very unforgiving computer screen, pondering the cruel necessity of a 40-hour work week.

To the issue at hand; I've been sitting on this review for over a week now, rewriting it, consistently unhappy with it. But ya know what? I'm hungover now and I don't care anymore. Sorry, Hannibal. Here's all I got, quickly:

Hymn No. 5 is certainly one of the best anti-war songs ever recorded, Fishin' Pole is a good B-side, and Hannibal is grossly under-rated. I didn't even know the man existed until I saw him in the Norton Records catalog. Oh, and he did a lot of junk.


Monday, June 16, 2008

DONOVAN - Wear Your Love Like Heaven / Oh Gosh - Epic - 1967

Today, feeling pretty lousy. Lost a real good friend exactly one year ago on this date. Don't know what to say about it really. I get weird whenever I think about it, and today being the anniversary makes me more-so.

Also, having a real nasty sore throat for the fifth day in a row is kind of a drag.

And some other shit that's none of your goddamn business.

So I'll use today to write about something that doesn't take much thought or effort, hence a Donovan review.

'Wear Your Love' is, in my opinion, possibly the best song Donovan ever wrote. The breaks between verses and choruses are absolutely brilliant and Mickie Most's production is sharply on point. Luckily Donovan is singing primarily about colors and doesn't have an opportunity to slip in any dreadfully embarassing lyrics, as he is so adept at. What else is there to say about this track? A+.

'Oh Gosh' is basically a pile of shit though. I think most people's beef with Donovan is that he wrote so many songs like this. I can't even take this shit seriously. There's 2 things that save this from being ranked among the worst songs ever. 1: The phrase "with the babies in your bellies." It's not meant to be, but I find it pretty funny, especially Donovan's phrasing. 2: The music in the outro. Sounds like primitive video game music for a bonus level where you're character takes flight on the back of some friendly, oversized creature soaring through a psychedelic sky between fat, purple stars and smiling moons collecting treasures and extra lives. Sadly, this euphoric bonus land only lasts for 20 seconds. BOO!

That's all for me today.

Gonna have myself a drink in honor of my good friend, Ben Fran.

Cheers, fuckfaces.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

THIRTEENTH FLOOR ELEVATORS - You're Gonna Miss Me / Tried To Hide - IA - 1966

I can't accurately desribed how pumped I was to get this 45, and I can't very well explain why either. It's not like this is ultra-rare, obscure, or hard-to-find. As a matter of fact, it's by far the easiest Elevators single to find, having been re-pressed about a zillion times.

Yea, so what? The record's amazing, and the Elevators are a main reason why I started digging the garage world in the first place. I'll be listening to 'You're Gonna Miss Me' till the day I fry and I'm quite certain it'll never get old. The flip side is, like every other song on Psychedelic Sounds, amazing as well.

Now if I could only find a copy on the Hanna-Barbara label...

*** *** ***
Alright. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have a slight (depending on who you ask) fascination with psychedelic drugs and the effect they have on people, specifically the people who eat/ate it up like candy. Now, it's tough to say whether it was the massive drug consumption or the shock therapy that finally cracked Roky Erickson (though I would lean toward the shocks,) but there's no denying the effect the drugs had on the music, and it certainly is phenominal. Though I do feel a slight (very slight) twinge of sorrow when I see dudes from that era who are completely useless-fried, I'm honestly thankful that there was a point in our history when so many people were turning on and twisting their brains inside-out. The music and art in general that came from that time, directly influenced by the brain candy, was unreal, and as of yet, unmatched. So maybe we should consider the Roky Erickson's of the world as martyrs for a great & noble cause, directly responsible for the only real revolution of the 1960's.

"Him... I want what he's on..."


Monday, June 9, 2008

THE LOLLIPOP SHOPPE - Someone I Knew / Through My Window - Shamley - 1968

I've been listening to the Lollipop Shoppe pretty consistently since I picked up a copy of the repressed 'Just Colour' LP (an original is a bit out of reach for a poor boy like me.) Then Kyle picked up the Weeds / Lollipop Shoppe collection that had the first Weeds single ('It's Your Time' / 'Little Girl,') the 'Just Colour' LP, the 2 tracks from the 'Angels From Hell' soundtrack ('Mr. Madison Avenue' / 'Who's It Gonna Be,') and the final two songs recorded by the band in the early 70's ('Stop' / 'No Good News'[credited as the Weeds.]) But curiously, this 45 is not included on that release. So when I found a copy, naturally, I had to grab it up.

I've always associated the Lollipop Shoppe rather closely with Love (though I would never call them a Love rip-off) and this single reminds me of, not-so-much Love's sound, as their trajectory. Just as Love had moved from a more-or-less basic garage sound to the orchestrated psychedelia of 'Forever Changes,' the Lollipop Shoppe seems intent on the same progression. This single is slower and more somber on both sides, even including a bit of string arrangement, and Fred sounds more desperate than angry here.

And honestly, I don't know if it really works for them.

I guess it's cool that they were trying something new and different, but I was hoping for something a little closer to their 'Just Colour' sound. And after reading an interview with Fred Cole, I'm not convinced that this is the direction he was looking to head in.

Regarding the production of 'Just Colour,' he had this to say:

"She (Danielle Hudson) was producing us and had this idea of orchestras and shit. She was a big fan of Charles Aznavour, some French singer who she used to hang with and that was her cup of tea - not ours. She was into a commercial pop sound and we just wanted to rock."

He goes on to explain why the band broke up:

"We were under a five-year contract with Lord Tim and Uni. We hated the direction they were leading us to which was a commercial bubble gum band."

So, maybe that explains why this single was left off of the Weeds collection (the only reissue Fred Cole ever authorized.) Though I don't mean to paint this as a shitty record, it just can't live up to the standard they set for themselves with 'Just Colour.' And to their credit, the shortcomings of this single can likely be traced to the notoriously bad decision making of record company executives and money-hungry management. I mean, for fuck's sake, Lord Tim Hudson, their manager, made them change their name from something pretty cool to something that's wimpy and totally unfitting, just to try to sell more records.