Thursday, July 24, 2014

Singles Going Steady 17-A Peek Inside The Dark Realms

Over the week, I thinned out my 45s collection and some of the stuff I don't play anymore will find their way into the St Vincent De Paul donation bins and your best chance of picking up my scratchy worn to the nub stuff like Medicine Man or Roll On Down The Highway or Taking Care Of Business and much much more.  I really have no need for them since I don't play them but looking through countless of promo one shots I found a few more oddities that seem to be worth commenting.

In other words, forgotten bands forgotten 45s.

1.  Young People-Willie Mitchell  Hi 45-2158  1969 The Memphis Horns wrote this but the fabulous Hi Rhythm Section takes this instrumental soul classic to a funky groove.  Teeny Hodges who passed away a month ago is one of the best unknown guitar players around and you can hear him jamming away.  As a youngster, I'd buy 45s on name association and anything that has the great Willie Mitchell's name on it is a worthy buy.  About a decade ago, they put out The Best Of Willie Mitchell on CD.  It's called Soul Serenade and worth picking up.  Folks in the UK went one further and gave out Poppa Willie a 2 CD set.  Next to Booker T and the MGs, Willie Mitchell and the Hi Rhythm Section were the best soul instrumentalists out there.  To which Tad made a observation about his classic oldies station playing very few black artists anymore.  A disturbing trend that a lot of old soul music is being lost by the wayside. Up here, they still play a lot of black artists, usually the more visible ones  Growing up on AM radio in the 60s it was common to hear Arthur Conley Funky Street or Soul Finger from The Bar Kays  and even Soul Serenade from Mr. Mitchell but even with satellite radio the black artists that got marginal airplay are now forgotten unless you break out the record player.  In the world today it seems that any black artist is more a rapper or autotuned jiver but in the early years of soul music some of the best talent were black and on Motown or Atlantic or Stax.  Still, you don't hear much instrumentals like Young People anymore, unless it's background music for the DJ on Underground Garage or Soul Town.  And that's a damn shame.

2.  She's So Far Out She's In-The Power Plant   Diamond D-229  1967  Thanks to the internet certain songs, forgotten when released can take on a life of its own.  This record for me goes back to a long hot summer in Lincoln Illinois and picking this up for a quarter at the old Lincoln TV and Records store and I remember them well for they had the RCA dog above the door.  Funny how I can remember places and things better than forgetting where I left my car keys is at.  Seemed back in the 70s every town had two or three record stores with a batch of 45 they couldn't give away.   I bought this of the cool band name, Power Plant hey they rock.  A side didn't go anywhere on the charts and it was basically forgettable anyway  (I Can't Happen Without You).  Baker Knight wrote and produced both sides of this Diamond single and he was better known as a songwriter to the stars (Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin) and The Monkees attempted to record this song for Headquarters but only the instrumental track got released as a bonus cut.  Listening to the Power Plant version, the the cheesy organ introduction I can see why The Monkees would record this.  For more shit and giggles, play this and then refer over to Star Collector for comparison.

3.  Shape Of Things To Come-Aorta   Atlantic 45-2545   1968   What is missing from music today is that back in the 60s garage bands could get regional airplay on their local radio station, before Cumulus and Clear Channel bought everything up and gave the world the same 250 songs every day and sucking out the fun of hearing the unheard of.   Corporations are fine if you have stock or money tied up in it but for new music you're SOL. Aorta's beginnings came from Rockford Illinois (home of Cheap Trick) and a early version had Peter Cetera playing bass and later version of said band had Michael Been (later of The Call, R.I.P.) on bass.  Signed as part of the Dunwich Production team (The late Bill Traut produced their album and this single) Shape Of Things To Come came out on Atlantic  Jim Donlinger was the lead singer.  B side Strange was written by Dan Hoagland under the alias Danny Lee would be redone later for a failed Columbia single attempt.  Aorta 2, would find them on another label (Happy Tiger, home of Mason Profit at that time) going for a more country/gospel sound.

4.  (I'm a) Yo Yo Man-Rick Cunha  GAC  2016  1974  A definite version of a one hit wonder.  Cunha started out playing in Hearts And Flowers (who made a couple albums for Capitol) then branched out on his own  Although it made it to number 61 on the national chart, KCRG had this in the Super 30 survey of 1974.  Originally done by Tommy Smothers and Mason Williams, Cunha had the highest chart of said song. For you 45 hounds out there, there were two different B sides to Yo Yo Man, one was a version of Wild Side Of Life and my copy had the 1973 song I'm Ashamed.  Produced by Ken Mansfield (Waylon Jennings).  Later recorded a single for Columbia that nobody knew about and went back to session work soon after.

5.  You're All That I Need-Ace  Anchor AN-21004  1977   How Long is their claim to fame but Paul Carrack and Ace continued to make albums and singles for Anchor and hoping to return to the charts but never did.  I tend to have a soft spot in my heart for this band, Five A Side still can be found in the dollar bins and Varese did issue that album and a few stray cuts from the next two albums for a worthy Best Of Ace collection. I recall the followup Time For Another was drab and although I did picked up No Strings their final album for a dollar, I don't think I ever played that album at all.  Carrack would go on to better things (Squeeze, Nick Lowe, solo career).

6.  Media Man-Flash And The Pan Epic 9-50882  1980 The logic of the major record label back in the late 70s and early 80s was that they did issued a lot of singles over that course of time, problem was the majority of them didn't chart, or became discarded promo copies that nobody heard or wanted.   Now I was a fan of their first album, which was very off the wall new wave done by the team of Vanda And Young, former Easybeats participants and producers to The Angels and AC/DC but they continue to record on and off (Marcus Hook Roll Band which Rhino issued their album earlier in the year). The first Flash And The Pan sold enough for Epic to put up the dough for the next album which became Lights In The Night and had more of a Prog rock slant.but I always thought the lead off track Media Man could have made the chart had Epic promoted it better.  The whole Five and half minute song went on too long for radio so they shorted it by about two minutes.  But then again Harry Vanda's talking/rapping probably didn't fit in for radio at that time.  Therefore it didn't chart but I like the song myself.

7. On A Carousel-Glass Moon Radio Records RR-4022  1981  On the latest trip to Madison, I donated a bunch of 45s to the St Vincent De Paul on Williamson Street since I figured they had a better chance of finding a nice home rather taking them to Goodwill or The Salvation Army and have the idiots there use them as frisbees. Of course that didn't stop me from acquiring some new 45s, one of which was this forgotten cover of the Hollies from Glass Moon a band that Tad speaks highly of.  It made it to number 50 on the Billboard chart but I have no recollection of hearing this on the radio.  They recorded three albums, two for Radio Records which had enough money in the budget to put out a video for the song.  Like Starcastle, they had their influences in British progessive rock but whereas Starcastle used Yes, Glass Moon liked Genesis/Gentle Giant/PFM more so.  Like Starcastle they were American based, Starcastle from Illinois, Glass Moon from Raleigh North Carolina.  Southern prog rock you ask? Hard to say but this song has more of a new wave south then Prog.   And it's from the Hollies. Not exactly Prog Rock if you get my drift.

8.  The Fool-Sanford Clark  Dot 45-15481  1956  In my adventures of seeing what the thrift stores have for 45s, sometimes I buy things and never get around playing them although I do have them on various CD comps in my collection.  Over the past month you may have (or not have) heard that Dot Records is being taken out of mothballs again by Scott Borcetta of Big Machine and signed a couple bro country acts to use the Dot imprint.  Dot really does go back to the 50s to which Randy Wood signed up interesting acts of pop (Pat Boone) and nostalgia, signing Lawrence Welk, Vaughn Monroe and the late great Louis Prima but once in a while Wood actually signed up some early rock acts in the process, mostly surf bands like The Safaris and The Fireballs (Remember Say I Am What I AM?  I bet you don't).  Back in 56, Dot put out a collection of rockabilly singles from Sanford Clark which had Al Casey on guitar and produced by Lee Hazelwood the best known is this rocking guitar number from Mr. Clark.  The record I have looks pretty well played but the treat is seeing the 45 sleeve of some of the albums Dot put out at the time.  I am kinda interested to hear the Vincent Price-The Gallery LP if I can ever find that copy.  But even if I did, it probably sells for a few bucks. But who knows. Maybe somebody will donate a copy to the thrift store.  But as for Stanford Clark, Bear Family put out a very good comp of Clark's best known numbers when he recorded for Dot and Jamie Records.  To which he signed after a falling out with the stolic Wood over his image.

9.  Does Your Chewing Gun Lose It's Flavor (on the bedpost over night)-Lonnie Donegan Dot 45-15911  1959  Oh how did your parents and grandparents ever got through life without the internet?  Back then, we had these 7 inch plastic discs with a big hole in the middle that you bought new for a dollar or 4 for a dollar for the classics and they varied from every record store you had in town.  I recall Lincoln Illinois had at least four of them stores downtown, course they're all gone now.  But in the 50's there was much variation on the radio.  Pop standards, rock and roll, rhythm and blues and the specialty numbers, particularly this from Mr. Donegan and his skiffle band.  A big rage in the UK which started up copy cat bands including The Quarrymen who would rewrite rock history as you know who (The Beatles).  Skiffle is interesting, some rockabilly thrown in with acoustic blues and country, more Ledbelly than Muddy Waters.  Lonnie was a big deal back then, today mention the name to any bro country fan and you'll get blank stares.  Nothing exists in the US for his albums, but across the oceans there's a few decent overviews, The Primo Collection Series serves up 40 Donegan hits and misses and despite no liner notes serves as a cheap sampler.  B side Aunt Rhody is more rockabilly.

10.  Hello Walls/Congratulations-Faron Young  Capitol 4533  1961  A big massive hit for Faron which this 45 serves as a double serving of a certain songwriter who recently released his 500th studio album *wink*. A one Willie Nelson who was a starving songwriter who really gave away his songs.  The B side Congratulations is just as good if not more cynical, Nelson would revisit this in another song Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away.   But like most of the forty fives that I do find this late in life, I try to make sure that they are still in good shape and this 45 is.  Like the Lonnie Donegan selection above the original owner did take good care of them.  Although they came in a batch of discarded jukebox junkers, these didn't have the usual jukebox markings and overplayed grooves like some other 45s that I passed over (Billie and Lille The Monster, Bobby Darin-Lazy River, George Hamilton IV Urge For Going).  Faron Young is no stranger to the Singles Going Steady Series, he's had a couple others pop up on previous listings.  Fun travia: Congratulations, the B side made it to number 28 on the country chart, Hello Walls, number 1 country and even made it to number 12 on the pop charts. Something that is unheard of this day and age.


TAD said...

I should probably play THE REST of that Glass Moon album that "On a Carousel" is on someday, huh...?

R S Crabb said...

Perhaps you should Tad ;)