Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Juju's - You Treated Me Bad 1964 - 66


Michigan was home to one of my favourite record labels 'Fenton Record' and is also home to one of the greatest rock n roll sounds of America. Mid-60s' Michigan produced a wealth of great teen-beat bands who were inspired by the British Invasion and created a very unique garage sound which is still pretty unnoticed amongst 60s garage fans. Many of the groups who came from Michigan and had records released on 'Fenton' particularly are now deemed lost classics to fans of the genre the world over, I myself am highly inspired by such groups and the Michigan "sound".

One such band who rank high up there in my opinion, is the JuJu's.

I recently purchased the newly compiled 1964-67 JuJu's collection and I have to say it is an absolute delight that the music on this record has survived and been made available to the public, the LP is a great insight into a teenage group of the mid 60s.

The Juju's are responsible for creating the teenage genius which was their 45rpm single 'You Treated Me Bad', the said song is a huge influence to my own music, if you listen closely to my own songs, you may hear that I am highly influenced by the guitar playing style, especially from JuJu's songs such as 'You Treated Me Bad' and 'Do You Understand Me' (the latter unfortunately not featuring on this LP collection.


The JuJu's were - 
Ray Hummel III - Vocals, guitars and harmonica (also main songwriter)
 Max Colley Jr. - Tenor Sax, backing vocals.
Rod Shepard - Bass, Lead Guitar, backing vocals
Bill Gorski - Drums
Rick Stevens - Lead Guitar

The JuJu's formed in 1964 in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan, Grand Rapids was a rather hip place to be during the 60s, many great teen bands played and came from there.

The album is a great insight into a teenage group of that era, the LP is compiled by Ray Hummel III himself and much of the songs on the LP are rare unheard tapes from Hummel's own private collection, the album features a fantastic booklet with interesting reading into the band's history not to mention commentary by Ray Hummel.

The music on the album is a really really great listening experience, when you listen to this record especially with tracks like 'Hey Little Girl' demo  and the band's rather crass version of 'Summertime', you instantly get transported back to a school dance held inside a school gymnasium in mid 1965.

What I like about this collection is hearing the influenced transition between that of 50s rock n roll a'la Buddy Holly, Doo-Wop etc and the British Invasion of The Beatles et al, this album beautifully makes available the sounds of a band who were stuck in between the past sounds of American Rock n Roll and the then current influences coming from across the pond.

Ray Hummel III was a great vocalist and songwriter whowrote class songs, which thankfully have been graced here on LP for the many to hear.

The album is a good addition to anyone who like's 60s garage or rock n roll's record collection.

You can purchase the album here -  THE JUJU's (Please Click)   (whilst you're there you can also pick up my records - they are JuJu's inspired) - I am warning you it is limited to only 450 copies, so get them while they are still here.

Please take a listen to The JuJu's monsterous and killer track 'You Treated Me Bad' of which I got outbidded on ebay last year by $20, had that last buyer not outbid, I'd have owned this 45.... DAMN!!






Enjoy

Paul Messis

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Television Personalities - And Don't The Kids Just Love It (1981)


One of the my favourite albums ever released is the one above, The Television Personalities seminal debut album 'And Don't The Kid's Just Love It' released in 1981. The Television Personalities is the brain child of one of the punk generations most important voices; Dan Treacy.  

Dan Treacy started the Television Personalities in 1978 and they self-released and produced a couple of classic punk singles until their debut long-player was released in 1981. In terms of Indie Music, Dan Treacy and The Television Personalities could be now pretty much seen to have founded the genre we all now know as 'Indie' or 'Britpop, however back then it was just considered punk rock and it probably didn't even really get noticed by a lot of people other than those in the know or those who listened to John Peel.

Fusing elements of 60s psychedelia, Jangle Pop, Mod and Punk attitude not to mention the DIY belief and determination many of the youngsters in bands had back in the late 70s, the Television Personalities have gone down in history as being a cult band and In my mind are also one of the more interesting groups to have been around during the late 70s till now in the present day.

The band are still together and playing shows today, the line-up is changeable however Dan Treacy is still writing songs and being the legend that he is.

I had the good fortune of meeting Dan Treacy last year at a Spacemen 3 related event in London, It was kinda cool to say hello and have met a guy who's song I am influenced by and whose music I have been listening to since I was a teenager.

Some folks have said that my own music reminds them of Dan Treacy a little, I personally can't hear the similarities, but I am influenced by his style of songwriting and I do love how personal and honest some of his songs are to him and I guess that is an influence to me as I try and be honest and true too, I guess I also relate to him in that in both our songs there is themes of sadness, being an outcast and also kind of hating the world around us.

                                     Television Personalities circa 1980 (from Left to Right -  Joe Foster, Empire & Dan Treacy)

The line-up as mentioned for the TVP's was interchangeable with only Treacy being the permanent feature, the members who recorded 'And Don't The Kids Just Love it' were Dan Treacy alongside Ed Ball and Mark Sheppard. The album is a cult classic and set the template for the emerging Indie music scene that was happening in the UK during the 80s.

The album is really important to me and I do consider it to be in my top 10 albums ever list, purely because every time I listen to it, it reminds me of my youth. I purchased 'And Don't the Kids....' and 'The Painted Word' LP's when I was around 15 or 16 years old and they both really played an important soundtrack to my life growing up in West London Suburbia, In fact I'd say both these albums are the best albums to express the anger, the boredom and isolation a person suffers in such a place like suburbia. I related to these albums and they made sense to me, that's why I love them I guess?

Later on we moved to Sussex and at the age of 19 I got a job working for The Electricity Board and around the age of 22 I was working on my own in a van all day for almost a year, I liked working on my own because it meant I could listen to my own music. During one very hot summer, I remember taking 'And Don't The Kids Just Love It' out in the van with me, I must have played that album everyday purely because I was working in South London, I was working in area's like Merton, Norwood, Croydon,Mitcham, Thornton Heath, Tooting etc I think I got as far north as Battersea during that Summer. The album was a perfect accompaniment to working in that area, the post-war council estates, the lonely parks, the concrete jungle, the sad forelorn faces from the past to the present, many different creeds and colours... The music and lyrics of Dan Treacy made all this make a great deal of sense to me, the music is totally London through and through.

                                                                              (Above) Dan Treacy

The album is a psychedelic-pop punk masterpiece and a real delight and I feel anyone who seriously loves music, should seriously love this album.... I can't sing it's praises high enough.

Please find below a few of my favourite songs from the album, however I do feel that the whole album is good.




This Angry Silence -  I totally love this song, it reminds me of my youth getting the N207 night bus from Shepherd's Bush back home to Uxbridge after spending the day and night roaming around London, the bus usually was full of gangs, drunks and heroin addicts. Not to mention the suburbia which I called home, had the same fate as included in the song's lyrics... I had alot of 'Angry Silence' inside of me and I guess I still do..... I like the lyric "I spend the days on my own, writing silly poetry, writing poems for the girl I love, but she doesn't love me".... total teenage genius!




The Glittering Prizes -  The Lyrics of this song, I used to tell myself the same things back when I was a kid.... I still am telling myself the same things... I guess if you have a brain and come from a shit and rough area you do ask yourself these things?


 
Diary of a Young Man -  I think this song is my favourite on the album, purely because I have had many moments in my own life which unintentionally mirrored the song.... I think I am currently going through a phase similar to the song.




Geoffrey Ingram -  I guess I love this because it is whimsical English humour in music form, it reminds me of when I was a kid and me and a mate always used to hang around London, we'd go and hang around Hammersmith Broadway a great deal and I guess, I must of in my head felt I was Geoffrey Ingram.




La Grande Illusion -  I totally love this song, it's a fabulous psychedelic moment from the 80s, I think it's a great song, simple as that a great piece of psychedelic pop.

Enjoy Folks

Paul 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Anorexia - Rapist In the Park EP (Slim Records - 1980)

The formation of Punk Rock in the 70s, was possibly the most important thing to happen on the British shores during the 70s, it was one of the most important counter-cultural movements since the radical left of the 60s, it was also a movement which made the youth finally stand up and speak out and express itself in a creative way.

Thousand upon thousands of 7" singles were released in the UK by many aspiring bands throughout and during the late 70s and early 80s, all put-out under the 'punk' moniker, many of these bands' releases were self-financed and released by the band members themselves in very limited quantities on their own independent record labels, this do-it-yourself attitude was kick started by the few and later went on to influence a whole generation of bands who were all just teenagers, this amazing self belief and self determination, brought to the surface many great musicians and records which otherwise would have never been heard in ordinary circumstances.

One such group of misfits came in the form of Anorexia with their fantastic 7" single 'Rapist In The Park' on Slim Records in 1980.

Anorexia formed in Hertfordshire in 1977, they self-financed this single which was put out three years later in 1980, it became an underground hit, receiving a fair bit of airplay on the John Peel radio show. This radio exposure made it possible for the band to do their one and only tour of the UK.

Anorexia were  Kim Glenister - Vocals
                       Nick Page - Bass, Vocals
                              Kevin Leigh - Guitar
                              Andrew Leigh - Sax
                              Graham Snell - Drums

The single is a classic punk 7" with three absolutely raucous and catastrophically great tracks, the lead track the politically incorrect 'Rapist In the Park' is backed with the snotty 'I'm a Square' and chaotic 'Pets'..... It's a killer punk single and possibly one of the best in the genre in my opinion.

Each song is fantastic, my favourite is 'Pets' because it is so absurd and totally teenage and yet at the same time is still sticking it's fingers up to the older generations whilst putting the next door neighbours pet cat in a black bag and throwing it in the canal!!! ... I want a CAT!!!

Punk Rock influences me greatly!

Have a listen below to each track.... you're lives will be much better in the process.












Enjoy

Paul 

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Optic Nerve - Like It Was Before (1985)

My friend Marty turned me onto The Optic Nerve last year, I had just gotten out of the bath, I was preparing to record a session myself that day, I think it may have been my own 'Time Will Tell' session and Marty goes "Hey Paul, you'll dig this, it sounds kind of like you and I feel you'll love it"... the album in question that day was the album pictured above, The Optic Nerve and their brilliant  long-player 'Lotta Nerve'.

I will do a blog post on the history of 'The Optic Nerve' and their albums at another time later on.... Right now I however just wish to make a post about one of their songs and write about it, purely because I feel the song is totally genius and one of their best songs, it's my favourite song from the tracks I have so far heard of theirs.

'Like It Was Before' is an amazing track, it's not on either of the bands two albums and is only available on Youtube, it is a live recording of the group from an infamous New York music venue called 'The Dive' way back in 1985 (the year of my birth).



Basically I dream of one day writing a song like this and admit that this song has influenced me greatly with my own music, it's perfect folk-rock styled garage punk, the mood and vibe is totally heart felt and meaningful, it's a personal song and I guess relates heavily to my own frustrations and mood at the moment, this song has been my 'song' of 2011, purely because the vibe of it reflects so much to me and my life, heartache ain't too fun, but you have to just deal with it I suppose?? thankfully there are others who get it and write hip songs like this.

I really dig the lyrics in this song.. "I think about you all of the time, both day and night you're on my mind, I wonder if you feel the same? but lately you don't even know my know!"

The desperation and urgency in the deliverance of this song, is true, raw and heartfelt.... I really dig it!!!

Bobby Belfiore is a genius songwriter and The Optic Nerve are amazing players, I guess as a group of musicians, I wish I can have a group the same as these guys one day.

Enjoy the track and please be sure to check out more of The Optic Nerve, they really are one of the most underrated bands of the 80s, if not ever!!! 

Paul Messis

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Vejtables - Anything b/w I Still Love You (Autumn - 1965)

Recently I purchased the wonderful 4-cd/book boxset - Love is The Song We Sing; The San Francisco music scene 1965 - 1970 on Rhino Records and have thus far thoroughly enjoyed the set, it is well packaged and is a great compilation full of facts and cool pictures.

The Vejitables are a group I've overlooked in the past, I dunno why??? but I guess I've always assumed they had no real songs that I'd dig, I was proven wrong. I've been into 60s underground music since I was a teenager, so almost ten years of intense research into the genre and I missed the boat with The Vejtables, until very recently, I guess that is the good thing about music, it continuously surprises.

The track 'Anything' blew me away when I heard it and  has since become one of my favourite songs of the moment.

The track was recorded and released in mid 1965, which is amazing as it sounds like it belongs  a couple of years later in 1967, it easily sounds like it influenced what the Mama and The Papa's went on to later do, the rich harmonies, the strange chord progressions and general summer time vibe.

The Vejitables consisted of -

Bob Bailey - lead vocals, percussion
Ned Hollis - lead guitar, organ and backing vocals
Reese Sheets - rhythm guitar and backing vocals
Rick Dey - bass and backing vocals 
and the ever so gorgeous and talented Jan Errico - drums and backing vocals.

Jan was one of the first ever female drummers and she was highly talented, not only was she pretty but she was also a phenomenal songwriter, musician and later went on to be in the Mojo Men.

The Vejtables were a short lived group but I feel in their short time were pretty important if only for their initial influence via their harmony style.

They had four 45rpm singles ranging from Folk-Rock, Beatles-esque Garage pop, and Psychedelia, they disbanded in late 1967.

For me the highlight of their recording output is 'Anything', have a listen to it below.


Pics taken by Jim Marshall and photographed from the 'Love Is The Song We Sing' cd/book set on Rhino Records




Thanks

Paul Messis

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Beat Happening - Jamboree (1988)

The musical landscape of America in the 80s was not a very pleasant one, the 80s musical world in the states lacked any real substance, aside from a few hardcore punk bands that came out of Los Angeles and San Francisco during the early 80s, a few post-punk style groups such as Devo and Pere Ubu (who had funnily enough begun in the 70s) and black America expressing itself in the music of Hip-Hop and Rap, the musical airwaves were mainly consumed by god awful hair-metal styled rock bands such as Metallica, Guns N Roses and Van Halen, also the charts were full of self-indulgent crap which consumed the billboard, stuff like Tiffany and Milli Vanilli etc etc.

It wasn't until the advent of 'college radio' that some of the more obscure groups begun to get recognised. The UK had a wealth of "underground" groups which were an influence to listeners of these American college radio stations, however there was a distinct lack of American groups, you had to search beyond the radar to find cool bands amongst the wealth of shit which was the 80s American  music scene.

The band and album I am going to write about were one such instance when the music was spot on, fresh, new and raw, it had the spirit of the current times yet also had the spirit of the past making for great songs and a fantastic album.

The Band were, The Beat Happening.


The Beat Happening formed as early as 1982 in Olympia WA its members include Calvin Johnson, Heather Lewis & Bret Lunsford.

Calvin Johnson was one of the founders of cult indie label 'K records', the label re-established a DIY punk ethic and released a shed load of stuff from a bunch of bands including The Beat Happening's own records.

The Beat Happening had 4 studio albums before they silently stopped recording and playing live, however it was their second LP, 1988's Jamboree that saw them make waves on the Indie scene and the album in question influenced a load of musician who would later cover the Beat Happening's songs and state their influence onto their own recordings, one such person was Nirvana's Kurt Cobain who claimed that 'Jamboree' was one of his all time favourite albums.

The Beat Happening's influence can be heard all throughout American Alternative music now and I guess if anything that alone is their sole legacy.

What I really dig about the band is they remained totally true to themselves, they never sold out to convention, despite the many times it was offered their way, they remained in Olympia WA and recorded primitively in their own studio and own style, they released albums and singles on their own independent record label and totally didn't care for the corporate side of things, they made a success out of humble origins and although they didn't make money, they at least influenced people in a way that taught them "HEY you can do this TOO" and I feel this idealism is what was important in the beginning stages of the 'Grunge' genre before the corporate strangle-hold tore that scene to shreds and Kurt blew his brains out.

Jamboree is a cult classic, it's a great album and I feel if you like what you hear below you should indeed purchase the album.

The album has a wealth of material which stands out and makes a great impression.

Below are my favourite tracks on the album...



Indian Summer - This song is as Dean Wareham from Galaxie 500 stated "....Indian Summer is like the 'Knockin' on heavens door' of the indie world, everyone's done it...".It's true, a wealth of bands have covered Indian Summer, I myself have recorded a demo of it at home. The song is beyond Velvet Underground in its style, the monotone of the drums, the two chord simplicity and the twee lyrics about a perfect summer time adventure around Olympia WA.... what more do you need from a song?



In Between - 'In Between' is my favourite song on the album, it's a perfect track, raw, to-the-point and more expressive than most bands' whole albums... I love the vocal style and the way the guitar sounds so discordant, I love the lyrics.... "I asked you about the past, you didn't wanna talk about it, you didn't want to trouble, it's just all history" & "Try so hard to make you forget, see yourself in the TV set".... Brilliant!!!




Bewitched - The fuzzed out garage punk guitar riff running through this is genius, the Mo Tucker styled drumming is far-out and the simple lyrics... "I Gotta Crush On You, I Gotta Crush On You, What am I Gonna Do? I Gotta Crush On You!!!"... Amazing and straight to the point, what is great to me is, shit bands like Bon Jovi and Brian Adams spent years trying to write perfect love songs, but then you hear this and its right there up in your face attacking you and making you confront your feelings and internal emotions, to me 'Bewitched' is a perfect modern day love song!!

Enjoy 

Paul Messis



Friday, 17 June 2011

Jake Holmes - The Above Ground Sound (1967)

Some day's when the rain is pouring down, the feelings of emptiness fill the soul, the sadness of other people's ways hurt you and cause you pain, there seems to be no-one else on the planet who seems to understand what is going down in the dark recesses inside your head. However there are, on these strange and desperate days the odd album which seems to fit that very moment and seems to alleviate the pain and make things a little less worse than it is.... I guess you can call these albums 'Rainy Day Albums'.

Today after being asked if I liked Led Zeppelin, it got me thinking about the musician I am writing about in today's blog-post; Jake Holmes. 

Jake Holmes is a really cool singer-songwriter who came from the Greenwich Village Folk scene during the mid to late 60s.

In response to the question of if I liked Led Zeppelin, I did answer NO!!! I have never understood Led Zeppelin and what they were about and I think what they did was all too grandiose, over-the-top and up its own arse for my own liking, plus I feel their songs have no real emotional basis and don't impress  me at all aside from the fact that they may be good from a technical standpoint. I also hold a huge disdain towards Led Zeppelin purely as they stole 'Dazed and Confused' from the aforementioned Jake Holmes and claimed it to be their own??? they didn't originally give Holmes any credit and took the song and claimed it was written by them.... For that alone I kind of hate them, how low can you get?? 

Jake Holmes released two LP's during the 60s, 'The Above Ground Sound' (1967) and 'A Letter to Katherine December' (1968) both of which at the time received no critical or public acclaim, in fact both albums were totally ignored and faded into obscurity as soon as they were released, which I guess is why philistines like Jimmy Page took songs from it and claimed it as his own.

Jake Holmes' song-writing greatly influences me, I guess how it does so, is because his songs are very personal to him and his life.

Jake Holmes also suffered with depression, I can relate to this, as I do too, Holmes' mental state can be heard throughout in the lyrics and feel within his songs on both of his albums, I really enjoy that fragility and tenderness in Jake Holmes, it is most apparent on his debut long-player, his second long-player is similar to Syd Barrett's albums in that it makes for difficult listening as you are actually hearing the soul of a man, breaking down slightly.

I can really relate to his mind-set and can understand where he is/was coming from, often I find that my best friends come from my record and book collection (sad hey?) , Jake Holmes is one of those friends who seems to be kindred to me and who only comes to hang out with me every so often when my mind and soul need his songs and words, I have found, it always seems to be raining when we meet each other??

There is a lot of pain in 'The Above Ground Sound' album, you can hear it all throughout... there is a lot of pain inside of me also and I guess this album helps me through a great deal of things, especially on day's like this when the sky is grey and the rain falls heavy to the ground.

'The Above Ground Sound' has ten great songs each with their own individual personalities, of these ten, one is the infamous 'Dazed and Confused'.

The LP sleeve has a real cool picture of Holmes, plus a bunch of fantastic and personal liner notes for each of the songs (I will put a few examples below in italics under the songs I choose to play)

I will now post a few videos/clips of songs which I really dig from the album and a short explanation why I like the songs.




LONELY  - "Explaining the lyric is fairly simple. When you spend time at anything you can grow to like it. People must have something to hold on to and if there is nothing, they hold on to nothing...."

The liner notes above pretty much say it all about this song.... I guess when I first heard this song, my mind flipped-out, mainly because the music is so mad, it is the sound of confusion in music, it is anger, it is frustration, it is sadness and it makes real sense to me, then to top it off you get a really killer lyric to end the song "I have a friend his name is lonely, he's always by my side, he borrows all my confidence and steals all my pride!!!"..... no other lyric can express manic depression as well as that, especially when it is sung by Jake Holmes in the most gut wrenching and venomous of manners.



 She Belonged To Me - "Almost everybody has owned a car they shouldn't have sold. A Ford '49, '53 Chevy, '55 Plymouth an occasional Crosley... I had a girl like that once."

This track is possibly the most upbeat track on the album, I really like it for it's cleverness, I like the fact the title is written in the past tense 'She BELONGED to me', it's rare for a song of this nature to be like that, I think it's pretty cool and a smart idea. I think I understand what Holmes is on about in this song, when you get a 'special' girl come into your life, you become spellbound, I guess this song is a magical ode to such girl's from the point of view from guy's like me and Jake Holmes.... I don't even know if that makes sense???? 

I also like the humour used in the lyricism throughout the song especially at the end.



Genuine Imitation Life - "I don't like talking about this song. It's an accident that took a long time to write. I wish I didn't feel that way about life"

This track is a magical piece of beatnik styled folk music, I love the pure poetry in this song, it's wonderful, the first time I listened to this song I cried, because it made so much sense to me, this track is a pioneering protest song against all the things in society I hate and despise. Jake Holmes puts to music one of the hardest things to complain about in this world and that is people and their faults. It's an amazing song... Listen out halfway through for the chord change which will make you feel very funny inside.... check out the venom sung in the lyric "People worship crosses, fingers crossed behind their back"... GENIUS.




Dazed and Confused - "This song is a combination of colors, a place I understand but cannot stay too long in. I get empty. I like it most because it makes sense by being unreasonable"

This is the song that Led Zeppelin had the cheek to claim as their own.... this version, the original is more raw and schizophrenic and that is why I much prefer this than the Wayne's World styled mockery which was the Led Zeppelin version.





Signs of Age - "Policeman, athletes and schoolteachers are all supposed to be older than me... they're not. Suddenly I'm not a child, I won't trade what I've got though"

This song is quite fantastic, I guess Jake Holmes was the same age as me when he wrote this, twenty-five and he is asking the same questions and having the same doubts... I think it is one of the few songs ever written which openly questions that weird age of the mid-twenties in such an honest way... it's kinda cool and a fitting ending to both the album and this blog post.


Enjoy the rain if you can?

Paul Messis


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

'Full Of Love & Full Of Wonder' by Nick Savvas

As a child, I used to have a morbid fascination with Bouncy Balls, I would often be like some feral animal bouncing them with all my strength into the ground and watching them fly at break-neck speed high into the sky above me, the strange myriad of colourful images reflecting in the sky. I also used to try and bounce said balls from my back garden over my child-hood home to the front of the house, where it likely hit on-coming traffic, old people or windows.

I was browsing the internet and found this set of delightful and mind-boggling images of a fab art installation from a few years back by an Australian artist by the name of Nick Savvas, his piece entitled 'Full of Love and Full of Wonder' fuses together in art what can only be described as my current psychedelic mindset and vivid memories of my childhood all into one visual pleasure. Nick Savvas also uses metaphysics as his theme. The bouncy balls are supposed to represent the atoms in which the universe, planet, me, you and your pet cat are all made from.

Enjoy the pictures of the installation and also let your mind, like mine, drift off back into your childhood and beyond!!!

Below the pics I have included a Youtube video featuring the opening section of Juan GarcĂ­a Esquivel's classic and amazing Latin-Esque LP.















Enjoy CATS

Paul Messis

Rico & The Ravens - Don't You Know b/w In My Heart (Rally Record - circa 1963/64?)

One of my own all time favourite 45s in my record collection is the one pictured above, Rico and The Ravens with their tremendous and monophonic killer 'Don't You Know b/w In My Heart' on Autumn Records & (2nd pressing) on Rally Records.

Rico and The Ravens were a doo-wop vocal group based in the Philadelphia region during the early 60s, I unfortunately have no idea what year the 45 was released but at a guess I'd say it was around 1963/64??? I believe this was the bands lone recording too.

Doo-wop is one of my favourite musical genres and feel it is totally neglected and also heavily underrated. I love that the music is tragically honest and brutally true with regards to emotions, feelings and soul. 

If American 60s garage group music for me represents the frustration, the moodiness and despair of 60s teen-hood, then doo-wop is the other side of the coin, it is the tender, the beautiful and dream-like aspect of being young in the 60s and best of all being young and in love.

This record ranks high up there in my opinion, it is a totally genius, raw sounding doo-wop record and in my mind I'd consider it to possibly  be one of the best doo-wop records in existence, it certainly is one of my favourite records ever!!!

The song begins with heart-pumping ferocity, frantic guitar interjected bluesy licks added in part with bombastic drumming, the production of the record has the ultimate perfect recording sound and to top it off the song is complete with an amazing falsetto vocal by young Rico who sings amazingly throughout.

Every word of this song is sung like it's meant, teenage lust and tragedy is fully committed to vinyl with every ounce of emotion a teenage boy could ever feel in relation to love, yearning, desperation and desire.

Lyrics include some marvelous thought provoking genius such as "Don't you know? that I love you so? Baby can't you see that I need you??" .... They are simple words, but they are sung in such a manner whereby the vocal makes the hair particles on your arms stand-on-end and affect you in the most profound of ways.

I love this track, It means a lot to me in my personal life, I guess if I ever get married (doubtful I will anytime soon) this track will be the one which gets played when the knot is finally tied.

The B-side 'In My Heart' is a pretty cool doo-wop/R&B standard and I do dig it too, but this blog post is mainly about the genius of the flip side 'Don't You Know'.

Therefore ... have a listen below to this fantastic piece of superb genius from Philly and decide for yourself...




Thanks

Paul 





Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Intruders - Now That You Know b/w She's Mine (IT Records - 1966)


When the day comes and I win the lottery (or somehow come into the cash), I swear one of the first things I'll be purchasing will be an original copy of this tremendous double-sided 60s garage 45.

In my opinion this record is one of the best ever releases in the 60s garage genre, both sides are absolutely amazing pieces of music, the 45 is a total killer, the A-side 'Now That You Know' with its beyond genius garage-folk jangle and the B-side 'She's Mine' with its ear breaking fuzztone guitar and snotty attitude.

The record even came in an uber-cool picture sleeve as pictured below (how cool do those guys look?)

The Intruders formed in Pittsfield, Illinois in 1964 and went through a number of line-up changes before they cut this amazing double-decker of plastic.

The line-up of the group who played on this genius record were the following guys.

Doug Oakley - Lead Vocals
Bob Evans - Lead Guitar & Vocals
Bill Mobus - Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
Larry Lemons - Bass Guitar
Jeff Hallows - Drums

Thanks to 'Spinthegroove.com' for allowing me to know the names of the band (for more information on this band go to the aforementioned website)

Now we come to the music.... I just want to say that this lone 45 by the Intruders heavily influenced my own 'Time Will Tell b/w When You Pass Me By' 45, purely cos I wanted to get a jangler A-side and Fuzzy B-side.... The A-side 'Now That You Know' is a very important song to me, as it expresses many words I myself can't speak, but also is a huge influence on me musically.

'Now That You Know' is an amazing piece of song writing and features jangley 12-string guitar and amazing lyrics about love's rich abandon, the song is total teen-drama in the 60s garage fashion, I love the innocence in this song and it perfectly fits the zeitgeist of the times.

The song features an amazing 12-string guitar solo and riff and also a lovely driving bassline throughout, the song-writing craft is perfect, the drums sound lush and the lyrics are simply wonderful featuring amazing yearning and questioning in the lyrics such as...

 "You know when we started babe, you had me on a string? Now I think it's time we parted babe, you don't mean anything, What are you going to do, now that you know that we're through?"




The B-side 'She's Mine' is a piece of primitive Kinks-like wonderment (however not as genius as the A-side in my opinion).... this is a typical 60s styled rocker of which a lot of garage fans from around the world would prefer over the flip? (It's a matter of taste I guess)  

'She's Mine' is an angst-ridden track with Maestro fuzztone  all the way through, the song is typical of it's style, the lyrics are fierce as the lead singer Doug Oakley warns off any other guys who may come anywhere near to his girl... "SHE's MINE!!! stay away from my baby" Oakley yells in an ever cool manner.

I kinda dig the sound of the rhythm guitar in this track and love the straight forward drums.




Enjoy

Paul

Jimmy Witter & The Shadows - AAAAAHHH!!! b/w If You Love My Woman (Elvis Recording Co.- 1956)

The year was 1956, the location was Nashville, Tennessee and from this location came forth one of the meanest 45rpm moments in the rockabilly genre. Jimmy Witter with his group the Shadows cut two killer sides which make the above record a real holy grail amongst rockabilly and instrumental music record collectors.

Jimmy Witter later became a well-known radio disc-jockey for WALT in the 60s by the name of Ron Hart.


Young Jim's genius however lies solely in this 45 that he cut for Nashville based 'Elvis Recording Company' in 1956, the label didn't last long as would be expected and was shutdown after this release as Colonel Tom Parker felt that the record label was capitalising on his boy-wonders' name (which they obviously were).

I'm unsure what side was the A-side or what was the B-side.

But the track I wish to highlight in this post is the monstrous instrumental screamer aptly titled 'Aaaaahhh!'.

The track begins with a menacing trio of twangy guitar, tough bass and monotone on the beat drumming, making it a hell of a mean song, an instrumental like this would have set any red-blooded males frustrations higher. The track is unadulterated teen-frustration and primitive snarl in music, only interrupted by the pulse tingling scream which Jimmy Witter let's out mid way through the track. Any mad man, teenage boy, pissed off person can relate to such a scream.

Dig it...


The 45 is a pretty rare one amongst collectors and has reached as high as $400 on ebay in the past.

Enjoy 

Paul Messis

Friday, 10 June 2011

The Vietnam War In Pictures

In this world the only things which make any sense are the things which are usually black and white, often when things are black and white the message is usually understood and the point is delivered.

One of the acts in society which often has an abundance of black and white realism attached to it, is the act of War.

War is NEVER a good thing, especially  wars with no  real enemy?

The recent wars in the middle-east  are not a new story (or new type of warfare) by any means, the said story is a sickening one where innocent men, women and children are being murdered and sacrificed for horrible and pointless causes, causes which ultimately profit no-one or nothing except the Capitalist greed machines, the Western Governments, The Media and the banking and oil cartels. These savage tidings of war are not old nor will they ever change for the better. You have to understand that Wars make the fat cat imperialist richer whilst confused young men kill children and help smuggle Heroin across borders for their countries' so-called freedom and pious pride, people are dying whilst these suited business men are safe in their ivory castles as the dollar and pound signs build up in their accounts and the rest of the world subsequently suffers.

One of the more stupid and pointless wars in history aside from the recent war in Iraq or as I like to call it 'The Invasion of the Middle East' was the war in Vietnam; a reign of terror which lasted from 1955 - 1975, almost twenty years of confusion, bloodshed and murder, a war where two sides managed to lose equally as bad as the other and the loss of lives for both sides was extraordinary.

For the Americans many young men, who had futures ahead of them perished whereas those on the other side were simple families who lived off the land; many families were killed, there was no enemy, there was no communist threat, there was nothing!!! Yet human lives were totally tossed aside and wasted away?? for what?? Vietnam was a pointless war where many people died, and just like the recent war in Iraq, was totally irrelevant and unnecessary.

The Vietnam War for me is something I am highly interested in for a number of reasons, I would like to honour these reasons by putting a few pictures of Vietnam up on this blog, I also wish to honour the millions who died during this tragic war. Some of the images may cause you distress, they continue to cause me distress and upset me quite deeply, however they are important and I feel represent the message I am trying to portray here.

As I said in the opening sentence to this blog post.... Black and White is where the truth lies, the pictures below should relay the message I am trying to convey.
















War Sucks, it's as simple as that, the troops on the battle field know that, the families at home know that, even the politicians know it, yet we still send young men to act on behalf of a cowardice elite who would rather murder than mediate.

Seek Peace!

Paul