Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Link Wray and His Wraymen - Raw-Hide

We return today with more music recorded in a three track chicken shack in Accokeek, Maryland just south of Washington, DC. That "recording studio" was run by Link Wray where the pioneering guitarist and his brothers laid down some nasty sounding material. Today's razor blade-like recording is the Link Wray composed, Raw-Hide. This was Link Wray and The Wraymen's first release for Epic Records - his third overall - and was showed a release date on the first Tuesday of 1959.

Dig that nasty little Danelectro guitar going through a tiny little amplifier. These chickens must have dug that raw chicken scratch sound. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bunker Hill - The Girl Can't Dance

Bunker Hill was the secular stage name of one Mr. David Walker, a gospel singer from Washington, DC. Sometime around 1962 a local producer named Vernon Wray got hipped do David Walker's vocal prowess. He talked Walker into giving a shot at recording a pop record. David Walker was game but apparently worried about what his proselytizing friends might think of his turnabout. Thus Walker was rechristened as Bunker Hill. 

Vernon Wray took the newly christened Bunker Hill into Vernon's chicken shack studio in Accoceek, Maryland. He set Bunker Hill up with his two brothers and their band. That band was Link Wray and His Raymen. They laid down five tracks that fateful day. From that came three wonderful singles on the Mala Records label. The Girl Can't Dance was the final record for Bunker Hill, released in September, 1963. 

I can talk about how wild, how primal, how extremely raw Bunker Hill and Link Wray's attack are on this, but you can hear that for yourself. Just play it loud. Share it. Spread the love of this rare little 1:54 record and raise a glass (physically or metaphysically) to Bunker Hill and the Wray brothers for giving us this gem exactly 51 years ago this month.

In the first picture below, that is David Walker (aka, Bunker Hill) on the bottom right. Link, bottom left on the second photo. 

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Strangers - Caterpillar Crawl and Rockin' Rebel

Caterpillar Crawl
Rockin' Rebel
The instrumental group, The Strangers, hailed from sunny San Diego, California and were fronted by guitarist, Joel Scott Hill. In the winter of 1959 the band recorded two edgy numbers for fledgling Titan Records. Hill's guitar work is guttural and sharp edged and not too dissimilar from what Link Wray was recording in a chicken shack out in Washington DC about the same time. 

Caterpillar Crawl was given the A-Side nod. A slow, brooding number, Hill's guitar work oozes with a hard edged tone running through a copious amount of reverb. A few years later, Los Angeles group, The Rumblers, would reimagine this song as Boss and release it on Downey Records. (Both Downey and Titan Records were distributed by Dot Records). We wrote about the Flip-Side of that Rumblers 1962 single here

The Flip-Side of The Strangers single was the even more Link Wray-like original composition, Rockin' Rebel. A fine upbeat number with some rockabilly guitar riffs lifted straight from the Scotty Moore playbook.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Trenchmen - Chains On My Heart

We scan the globe to bring you good, rare music! And today we found a real nice and rare record from the middle of nowhere. Only 1000 of these were ever pressed. The Trenchmen hails from the tiny farming community of Minot, North Dakota and they released this one and only single. The Trenchmen recorded the number in Minneapolis with engineer Tom Jung at the controls back in 1967.

Soon after the record came out, the four members graduated high school and turned to other interests. Singer and bassist Jim Mackey joined the Navy while the others went off to...well, the things you do when you are a teenager in North Dakota. Greg Jordahl, the group's guitarist was 15 when the band recorded his original composition, Chains On My Heart. The single was released on their own made-up label, Impact Sound. Alan Mattson plays the freaky-ass dominant organ and Ken White is on drums. Jordahl also wrote the flip-side, Travel With Me. It's a decent, trippy song, but not as strong as the A-side.

We'll see you next time On The Flip-Side!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Turtles - Almost There

The Turtles weren't exactly known for  hard edge rock-n-roll, but this may change your mind (a little). 

The Turtles released their first single in July of 1965. That single, on White Whale Records, was a harmless cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. But the lucky kid that bothered to flip the record over was treated to an original composition by the band's lead singer, Howard Kaylan. That song is Almost There, a pounding beat number reminiscent of The Kinks' instrumental, Revenge. The song tells the tale of a young man on a journey to see his girl. The poor lad has to travel 10 miles everyday just to see his baby. Thank goodness, like all Angelenos, he had a car to use to see her, bye and bye. 

It appears that this single is not only the first record ever released by the Los Angeles band, but also the first record ever released by the short lived White Whale Records. Not a bad start for either. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Richard and the Young Lions - You Can Make It

Richard and The Young Lions had attitude, dude. The Young Lions hailed from the lovely town of Newark, New Jersey and collectively were Richard Tepp, Bob Freedman, Marc Lees, Norm Cohen, Ricky Rackin, and Jerry Raff. Richard had some seriously long hair and the requisite snarl on his face to make a great front man. It didn't hurt that he could sing, too!

The Young Lions released three singles in their brief career, all on Philips Records. Today's song is, in our humble opinion, the best of their releases. The number is their swan song, You Can Make It, and it was released in March of 1967. This is the A-Side. In a rare public announcement that runs counter to the concept of this site, we warn NOT Flip this record over. Ouch!

You Can Make It was comped on the legendary What A Way To Die record and is one of the standouts on that record. They even graced the cover of the record. That's how we learned of this band.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jeff Tweedy - Theologians

From his 2006 solo tour, the frontman for Wilco, Jeff Tweedy, performs his own composition, Theologians. I think the guitar sound is inexcusable for a performer of this level, but he more than makes up for it with his beautiful, spot-on falsettos.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Time Stoppers - I Need Love

I really don't know a whole lot about this band. One source puts them as a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania band. The fact that we have listed St. Clair Productions would make me think the band hailed from the suburbs of Detroit, a place where Hanna-Barbera Records found lots of bands such as The Unrelated Segments and Tidal Waves.

I Need Love was originally done by Washington DC area band, The Mad Hatters. That version was released in 1965. The Time Stoppers released their version on Hanna Barbera Records in 1967. In fact, it was the last release for the quick lived label.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Beau Gentry - Just In Case

The Beau Gentry, formed in Indiatlantic, Florida in '64, made their way up north in the summer of '66 to tour the midwest and soon were amassing a following in the Wisconsin and Illinois area. So much so that they settle in the area for the next while and eventually made today's recording, Just In Case, on a small label out of Janesville Wisconsin in, I believe, early 1967.

Just in Case - the flip-side of the single - was written by non-bandmember R. Bryant and has an odd time signature, somewhat reminiscent of the Yardbirds' Little Games. What is it? 3/4? In any case to me it's like an inverted waltz. Add to this some brilliant CSN-like harmonies, a charging, free-form rhythm section and a time-signature change for the bridge and you know you're in some uncharted territory. The Beau Gentry was Rick Jaeger, Doug Kilmer, Lance Massey and Russ DaShiell (l-r pictured above).
Doug Kilmer and Russ Dashiell soon hit it big when they joined Norman Greenbaum for the recording of Spirit In The Sky and subsequent touring, while Rick Jaeger went on to record and tour with Dave Mason. Not bad! The Beau Gentry also show up in a Dunwich retrospective and it is no surprise they were subject to the gravitational pull of that formidable scene.

Vinyl Frontier

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ryan Adams - New York, New York

The funny thing about memories is they get mixed with the mud over time. The memories lose their sparkly shininess they once had. As time passes it becomes harder and harder to differentiate what was real in that frozen moment and what latched on to that memory like a blood sucking leach. Sometimes having the luxury of distance can make watershed moments more crystal clear. More black and white. Other times the distance just muddles up the hue. Secondary events, secondary memories, our own moral beliefs, our own political beliefs, our own prejudices, our own desire to frame ourselves to fare better in that memory will change how we view said memory. And then where are we? What is real? Was I really part of this? If the answer is yes, then how much? Maybe it doesn't matter. So many memories. A perfect unblemished blue sky. 

Booker T. and The MGs - Plum-Nellie

Feel the groove baby. Booker T. and The MGs lay down a nasty beat with their original composition, Plum-Nellie. Steve Cropper opens the number with a scorching Telecaster guitar tone. The kind of tone that will peel the paint off of your walls. An intimidating bass and brassy section gives way to Booker T. Jones and his trademark, sparse organ riffs. Plum-Nellie was the Flip-Side of a great number called Chinese Checkers and was released on Stax Records in June of 1963. 

It's hard to beat this but The Small Faces tried to outdo The MGs when they covered the number more than ably on their 1967 album, From The Beginning. 
 Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Marvin Gaye - One More Heartache

Marvin Gaye made a solid record or two in his day. One More Heartache was one of those. Released on Tamla Records in January of 1966, the song was covered by UK mod band, The Artwoods, that same year. The Chicago group, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, more than ably covered the number the following year as the Flip-Side of their only Elektra release. But it's hard to beat the original.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Kinks - Mindless Child of Motherhood

You may have heard of this group, The Kinks. They released a record or two in their day. And then some. In fact, they continued to release good quality records well past that of many of their contemporaries who began to buckle under the pressure of touring, taxes, unscrupulous managers and the unbearable heaviness of the impending 1970s. 

Mindless Child of Motherhood appeared as the Flip-Side of the certifiable hit Lola in these United States of America on Reprise Records in July of 1970. In the band's native UK, the Dave Davies composition was billed as The Kinks Featuring Dave Davies and was released on Pye Records as the Flip-Side to Drivin' which was released during the Summer of 1969. 

The terribly under appreciated little brother puts forth a wonderful vocal performance and I could make a strong argument that this song is better than the A-Side of the UK release. Mindless Child Of Motherhood feels exceptionally personal. And as such, often feels like we are seeing too much into the life of the singer. The listener a muted observer to the painful tragedy unfolding in front of them.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Johnny Bond - Hot Rod Lincoln

Hot Rod Lincoln was first recorded in 1955 by it's composer, Charley Ryan, as a retort to the 1951 Arkie Shibley composition, Hot Rod Race. In June of 1960, veteran country singer Johnny Bond released his souped up version on Republic Records. It was his version that Commander Cody souped up even more until it was wound up to 110.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hope Waits - Get Behind The Mule

We're going to stay in Louisiana for our third straight day. In fact, it's our 5th Louisiana artist in the last two weeks alone. All hail the Pelican state!

Hope Waits hails from Monroe, Louisiana, a town on the highway between Shreveport and Jackson, Mississippi and dead center of nowhere good. And like the subject of yesterday's post, this Louisiana native traveled west to record in Los Angeles. Working with producer Peter Malick, Hope Waits kicked out one nice, jazzy album for Radarproof Records back in 2007. Our song today, Get Behind The Mule, written by our smooth throated chanteuse, explores a lovely, sparse country-blues style. It's wonderfully produced with lots of open spaces in the song. A great example of how less is more. Or, to put it another way, it's sometimes what you don't play that matters more than what you do play. The result here is that the open spaces allow for Waits' vocals to float effortlessly as she stirs her brandy with a nail.

You can stream her entire album, Introducing Hope Waits, over at her site located here. Below we're giving you a bonus video of Waits doing I'll Be Satisfied.

Have a good weekend. Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

James Burton and Ralph Mooney - Corn Picken'

It's Corn Pickin' time! We return today to Shreveport, Louisiana and to James Burton. We mentioned in yesterday's post that a young James Burton was on guitar for yesterday's Dale Hawkins tune, La-Do-Dada. Today we feature that guitarist front and center.

James Burton was raised in Minden, Louisiana, just an opossums throw away from Shreveport. He cut his chops early as a self-taught guitarist and became the spokes-picker for a distinct style of guitar playing called chicken picken'. That flat pick/finger pick/under-string-pluck/note bending combo thing he does so well is on full display here on his own composition, Corn Picken'. Burton's second, and final, solo single was released on Capitol Records in March of 1968. It's one minute and 47 seconds of pure geetar pickin' goodness.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!