Friday, October 16, 2015

Singles Going Steady 26-The Museum Pieces

Earlier in the month, I previewed a collection of 45s that I found for a dollar or less at various record stores and thift shops, the fun stuff so to speak.  In this edition, I take a look at the dollar and over.  The museum pieces, or records over 4 dollars.  The choice buys came from Ragged Records and from that special tub of unplayed unknown 45s that Bob had hidden in the aisles and told me about it.  I posted Cruel World, the 10 dollar find in a earlier blog.  In the past couple trips to Davenport I did managed to go through the countless boxes of 45s in the back that were not in the 45's room.  And ended up spending over 120 dollars in the two trips of going there.  Granted they were choice buys, I figured they were much different and harder to find.  I may or may not return there one more time before the snow flies, but as a seasoned bargain hunter and 45 collector I do have an idea of what I'm looking for.  And that is the obscure 45 of long ago and far away no longer played on radio and only on old record players.

In the vast archives, I found singles that have forgotten faces and forgotten bands.  Lee Hazelwood, The Fourmost, artists in transition or simply bands that made one single and disappeared from sight.  As well continuing to add records that used to be in my mom's collection and what I used to listen to when we visited Grandma Ambrose when we went to Lincoln.  God bless her for letting me listen to all that noisy singles of the past.  A few more of those singles are back in the collection, Johnny And The Hurricane's Red River Rock/Buckeye, Jimmy Jones Handy Man, Travis And Bob Tell Him No and probably the best known of the bunch.  In no particular order or price range, these 10 songs stick out the best.  For reasons I only know and not telling.

1.  Every Day And Every Night-The Trolls (ABC 45-10823)    #96 1966   They were from Illinois and owed a lot to The Shadows Of Knight in terms of their sound even though Johnny Pate (B B King) produced this single, it's a funny rocker about a overweight woman stalking the lead singer, which is part Gloria, Dirty Water and Steppin Out.  I'm surprised that Lenny Kaye overlooked this little gem when he was putting together the original Nuggets album, but the song didn't sell very well, it appeared at one week at number 96 in October of 1966, although it charted higher on WLS or the Peoria station.  This museum piece cost me 8 dollars.

2.  Mary Lou-Ronnie Hawkins  (Roulette 4-4177)   #26  1959  Ronnie's only top thirty showing (#26 in August of 1959) this features his backing band The Hawks which might have had a youthful Robbie Robertson playing guitar, however oldies radio doesn't play this very often.  It's surprising to note that Who Do You Love, didn't chart at all, perhaps it was too hard rock sounding for the Fabian/Pat Boone crowd.  Hawkins would still record from time to time, but the Hawks would later back Bob Dylan up and later became The Band.  And the rest is history.  Another 8 dollar 45.

3.  Funny What Love Can Do/We Didn't Ask To Be Brought Here-Bobby Darin   (Atlantic 2305) 1965    Bobby's return to Atlantic after four years on Capitol saw Bobby going toward a more folk rock sound, certainly he got that 12 string guitar Rickenbacker riff that Roger McGuinn did for The Byrds on the Gene Page arranged We Didn't Ask To Be Brought Here, and it's hard to tell what the A or B side was.  B side Funny What Love Can Do really is the telling song of Bobby going into a folk rock mood, somewhere along like what Dion was doing at Columbia at this time. An interesting idea and Funny What Love Can Do has been put on a couple of Bobby Darin best ofs, but We Didn't Ask...has yet to make a CD appearance.  The failure of the single to chart (#113 in the bubbling under side of things) caused Atlantic to rush out a pop song in the number 53 Mame, but Darin would succeed in getting the Tim Hardin written If I Was A Carpenter up to number 8 on the charts in September of 1966.  Which would be Bobby's last top ten single.  Bought this for 4 dollars.

4.  Five Feet High And Rising-The Shacklefords (Capitol 5478)  1965  It's strange to see that this single out all the ones that I did buy only cost 3 dollars, whereas Leapy Lee's Here Comes The Rain was a dollar more and I probably should have put that one back.  But The Shacklefords  was the folk group led by Marty Cooper and one Lee Hazlewood, who's gruff bass vocals can be heard in the background.  Marty Cooper seemed to be the lead singer from what I have heard of them. One of four singles that this folk duo issued on Capitol and I think one album too but none of the Capitol singles charted.  Lee would have better luck producing and dueting with Nancy Sinatra later on and forming his own record label LHI for a couple years.  He returned back to Capitol in 1973 with the failed single Nancy And Me. (Capitol 3611 1973).

5.  I'm Movin On-Johnny Nash (Warner Brothers 5336) 1963  He started out as a teen idol for ABC Paramount in 1957 and with Paul Anka and George Hamilton IV gave us The Teen Commandants, a very silly song about keeping on the straight and narrow. Still,he only had 3 chart placement singles, the best known Valley Of Tears was produced by Phil Spector in 1961.  Moving over to Warner Brothers, Nash stayed there for a year and ended up recording this uptempo teen beat cover of Hank Snow's song.  Stan Applebaum is the one that produced and arranged this and although reviews of this song were positive, it failed to chart.  Nash would became a journeyman, recording for Groove, Argo, Atlantic,  JoDa and MGM before getting a top ten hit with Hold Me Tight for JAD in 1969. A case in point that one of the main songwriters on that album was none other than Peter Tosh.  His number one single I Can See Clearly Now and the album of that name he had help from Bob Marley. And he managed to stay with Epic from 1972 to 1979 thereabouts.

6.  Here, There And Everywhere-The Fourmost (Capitol 5738)  1966  These guys could copy The Beatles, like that band they came from England and had a mersey sound to their music, a more conventional Gerry And The Pacemakers. The Fourmost did cover Beatles songs,  Their ATCO singles Hello Little Girl and I'm In Love were written by John and Paul. But unlike Gerry And The Pacemakers, The Fourmost never broke any singles on the US charts, although they made a noble effort of this Beatles cover, produced by Ron Richards of The Hollies fame.   And unlike the fab four, this song would not chart either.  Something found for six dollars.

7.  Bad Side Of The Moon-Toe Fat (Rare Earth R 5019)  1970  Barry Gordy had much success with Motown soul but with rock and roll that was a different story.  In 1969 he drew up a label for rock and roll bands called Rare Earth, and signed a band with the same name, they made a single for Verve before moving to Rare Earth and being the only rock and roll success band for that label.  But didn't mean Barry Gordy didn't try.  He signed The Easybeats which they got a minor hit with St. Louis (R 5009) which stumbled into the top 100 at number 100.  Another band of note was UFO, which their space rock contradicted Motown soul and was a match made in hell, they would get better, ditching the space rock for a blues rock for Chrysalis.  And perhaps the odd band out was Toe Fat, a band featuring Cliff Bennett as lead singer and a couple guys would later join Uriah Heep.  For some reason Gordy thought that editing a 3 minute song down to 2 would be a good idea, in short, there wasn't much to chop off on this Elton John cover.  The cover art of Toe Fat's album is a classic by itself, the record is early hard rock metal.  Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake would join Uriah Heep. More contradiction: the 45 picture sleeve considers Just Like Me the A side, but I have DJ copy that only has Bad Side Of The Moon on both side.  Therefore I consider that the intended single.  Of course it didn't chart either.

8.  She Was The Girl-Michael And The Messengers (USA 889)  1967   Somehow the connection to this band and Toe Fat was that The Messengers would later record for Motown but on different labels. For Window Shopping, they were assigned to Soul and produced by R Dean Taylor (Indiana Wants Me) in 1968 and would get a top ten hit with That's The Way A Woman Is (Rare Earth 5032 1971 charted #62). As for Mike and The Messengers, they recorded at least 3 singles for USA, this one the least known since 45 cat didn't have any information about this song.  Larry Weiss who co wrote this song, is famous for writing the hit single Help Me Girl for Eric Burdon And The Animals although The Outsiders covered this as well.  She Was The Girl sounds like them trying to be The Walker Brothers in terms of pop and scope. But for a six dollar buy, I didn't like this song much.  I was thinking they were more garage rock, but this song says they're not.

9.  Redwood City-The Nomos (Prestige 45-301)  1964  A mystery record that Bob at Ragged swore he knew nothing about, it was thought that it could have been a instrumental but since it came from Prestige, my guess it was a more jazz soul single and I was right. Further research shows this was a band of jazzmen with included Brother Jack McDuff on keyboards, Red Holloway on Tenor sax, Red Tyler on Soprano Sax, the rhythm section of Tommy Shelvin (Bass) and Joe Dukes on drums and a very young George Benson on guitar.  While Redwood City was the plug side, somebody on You Tube posted the b side Step Out And Git It which does recall more Booker T and Jimmy McGriff.  And like most jazz 45s, they were edited down to two minutes both sides.  This one cost 6 dollars.

10.  One of those days Sunday's Gonna Come On Tuesday-The New Establishment  (Colgems 66-5006)  #92  1969  Winner's of the 1967 Scoutarama contest for Teen Magazine, this groovy guys and chicks recorded a highly sought after single for Mercury Time For Everything in 1967 but 2 years later they would be recording for the label best known for The Monkees.  It's sunshine pop in the tradition of The Peppermint Rainbow and for their trouble, managed to hit number 92 on the charts in November of 1969.  Nicely arranged by Perry Botkin Jr, later of Nadia's Theme, although this song is pop and not rock.  Followup single I'll Build A Bridge didn't chart.  Soon Screen Gems sold their music publishing to EMI and Colgems would shut down, but not before The New Establishment tried one more time, moving over to RCA for the November 1970 release of Love Will Keep Us Going.  And was never heard from anymore after that.

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