Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Exchequers - Is There Some Girl b/w Green Sleeves (Boom - 1965)

The Exchequers were a hip group operating out of La Crosse, Wisconsin, they cut one fabulous 45 rpm single in 1965.

After recent discussion's with a friend about the greatness of the band's A-side 'Is There Some Girl?' I was compelled to purchase the 45 myself, it arrived in the post this week and has flipped my lid. I guess tracks like 'Is There Some Girl' are the epitome of teen garage of the mid 60s for me, I dunno why, but tracks like this are divine and perfect.

For me, this cut is the most compelling example of teenage and adolescent frustration, I pretty much am feeling this record for real in my life - it's desperate. As human beings, all we ever want to be, is loved and the constant questioning of  whether the right person is out there for me is currently constantly on my mind due to circumstances which feature both good and bad aspects of things in my personal realm - the most obvious search has led me to this song by The Exchequers, tracks like this ease the somewhat tragic notions that there may not actually be the right girl for me out there, however I do live in hope... as did The Exchequers when they recorded this their lone single, released on the Boom label in 1965.

The B-side is a pretty nifty cover version of 'Greensleeves' done in the typical countrified surf vibe that the mid-west produced in the early to mid 60s, making the product a pretty cool piece of plastic, what's cooler is it was pressed on a really hip GREEN vinyl.

I apologise for my lack of blogging, this is due to  being extremely busy in all manner of things in my life of late.... today has been the only time I have been able to sit down and write a blog for a while, it's not the greatest of posts and for that I am sorry but I hope at least you can dig the song.

I have no information in regards to The Exchequers other than they came from La Crosse, Wisconsin and made one of my favourite garage sides... If any of the members see this post, it would be great to get band members names to at least honour you as people and a group.

Enjoy the song below.



Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Washington Phillips - The Forefather of Gospel

George 'Washington' Phillips who was born in Texas in 1880 is considered to be one of the founding fathers of making Black Gospel music and is also a highly influential name in early American made music, despite the 'Great Depression' and also being a black skinned man in 1920s era America, Washington Phillips had records released and was quite popular, especially amongst the Negro-buying public in a vastly sectarian society.

From December 1927 through to 1929, Washington Phillips recorded sixteen beautifully crafted Gospel songs, each of which is wonderful in their own individual ways and I would consider these pieces of music to be some of the most emotionally honest and heart touching records to ever grace vinyl.

Washington Phillips is unique in so much that he is possibly the only musician in the world to popularise an unusual zither-like instrument called a Dulceola, the heavenly sound of the Dulceola accompanies Phillips' social commentary and preaching and albeit making the message of his songs felt and understood more powerfully.

I got into Washington Phillips a good four or five years ago, when I went through a period of about 6 months wherby I was listening to nothing but old blues, jazz, ragtime, gospel, prison and field songs (basically nothing past the year 1937). I've always considered Washington Phillips and Reverend Blind Gary Davis to be reign supreme and I feel they are the greatest of the gospel penned singer-songwriters of the day, I have a strong emotional tie to this music and feel that it quite possibly may be the most beautiful music on earth.

All of Washington Phillips' releases have been compiled on various cd's, they are well worth owning, as they are a great insight into the human endeavour.

Below the picture of Washington Phillip's in 1950 are my favourite tracks of his, please honour this great musician and buy his records.

Take Your Burden To The Lord And Leave It There 

Lift Him Up That's All

Denomination Blues Part 1

I Am Born To Preach The Gospel



Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Sinner Strong - Don't Knock It b/w Nobody But Me (Serock - 1962)

This harmonica wailing slice of raw R&B was sung by the best 'white' soul voice in the form of a young fairly unknown singer called Joyce Harris, who relocated from New Orleans to Los Angles and cut this wailing piece of Rhythm and Blues in 1962.

I'd rank this 45 as a phenomenal piece early Soul music, the raw energy of the band and those amazing off-kilter vocals sung by Joyce Harris with such verve and passion, that this white girl could've sung any black girl off the stage, she was that impressive on this cut.

The A-side is the mover and shaker of this piece of wax, the B-side is more of a traditional gospel influenced R&B track, not my cup of tea, I kind of find over use of 'strings, horns and brass' in black music from 1957-68 a total yawn fest and song killer, with R&B and Soul Music, I only really dig the arse-shaking, head kicking, primitive songs with the odd exceptions to the former.

I first heard the A-side 'Don't Knock It' on the Crypt Records compilation 'T-Bird Party' years ago and decided to track down the 45, I've had the 45 in my collection for a couple of years now, It would be a good floor-filler if played at a Soul event, I feel.... I personally don't really know what 45s are considered cool today amongst that crowd of people??

Recently I was looking through my Soul, Doo-Wop and R&B records drawer and was amazed I even had a bunch of the stuff I had, this record was one of the one's I had totally forgotten about and thus I now feel somewhat compelled to write a blog about it and share the killer side.

Anyway dig the grooves.

Paul Messis

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Bumble Bees - Maybe Someday b/w Girl Of My Kind (Phillips - 1966)

Continuing with the Dutch theme, one of my favourite releases by a Dutch group is this by The Bumble Bees, a really cool moody and mildly psychedelic double-sider 'Maybe Someday b/w Girl Of My Kind.

The Bumble Bees were a great group from The Haag, they released three 45rpm singles between 1966 -67 and then faded into obscurity like all great bands do.

The Bumble Bees were -

Jim Ten Boske - Vocals, Organ, Rhythm Guitar
Joop Leileveld - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Rene Bakker - Bass
Nico Overgaauw - Drums

The Bumble Bees were a pretty cool band by my reckoning, their releases on the 'Op-Art/ Muziek Expres labels are cool however by far,I feel this 45 on Phillips is their best work and is currently being spun a fair amount of times at the moment at my home.

Maybe Someday

This is a kinda weird piece of moody psychedelia that would only had been found in the coffee shops of Amsterdam and Den Haag, it is slightly folk influenced, slightly jazz influenced, slightly psychedelic and it is fully in keeping with the Dutch Beatnik vibes of the time. This track comes on like some tripped out, folk styled nursery rhyme however the scene is slowly ruined (or enhanced) with themes of forlorn despair and love lost, a killer track, with added weirdness via use of the flute which gives the song an odd whimsy  and also you can hear use of a Mellotron which gives a strange Gregorian undertone to the song.

Girl Of My Kind
Another moody gem, I really really love this song, you can't beat those echoed out harmonies, the song sounds lyrically as if it was inspired by The Outsider's 'I Love Her Still (I Always Will)'... With The Bumble Bee's though you can hear a genuine truth and sincerity in their song. I love the innocence and pure awkward desperation which this song portrays lyrically and musically. I think anyone who is a bit of a true romantic, a slight social dud or a bit of an odd ball could relate to this song.... I certainly do, the theme is the story of my life!


The Outsiders - Keep On Trying b/w That's Your Problem (Relax - 1966)

The Outsiders are one of my top five bands ever, I love almost everything the band ever released, I am a huge fan of the group, particularly the lyrics and genuine 'outcast' vibes emanating from the soul and mind of  lead vocalist Wally Tax, who seems to communicate many of the things which I personally can't communicate in my own world, yet he does with great ease in music.

Wally Tax and his song-writing, is a huge influence on me, as the songs are clearly personal and you never get the feeling they are put on or phoney for the sakes of it, the words Wally Tax sang were real to his life and you got that vibe from his music, this is what I've tried to do in my own music, by incorporating my thoughts and feelings into sounds.

The Outsiders released an  abundance of fabulous 45rpm singles and a couple of ultra-cool albums during the 60s and the legacy they created is fabulous. I haven't met too many genuine 'Outsiders' fans on my travels which is remarkable as I personally feel they are one of the greatest bands from the 60s and I even feel they had better songs than The Rolling Stones, however unlike The Stones, The Outcasts never really ever released  a 'Smash Hit' record, yet their song writing craft exceeds Jagger and Richards tenfold.

The Outsiders were actual Outcasts in their native Netherlands, they came to the fold looking like a bunch of misfit long hairs, in 1965 when the world was still donning mop-top's, these cats came outta nowhere, with very long hair, scruffy yet hip clothing, stoned-out beatnik mindsets, punk attitude to boot, outsider mentality, and a bunch of killer songs to spread to a world which for the most part was never really listening in the first place (and still doesn't sadly).

Almost all the Outsiders releases to me are worthy of investigation, I would even say that all twelve 45rpm singles the band put out between 1965 - 68 are great, I would rank each one as a piece of unique musical genius.

I don't have a particular favourite release by The Outsiders as all the songs pretty much mean a great deal to my life and my viewpoint on things in their own individual ways, the 45 which seems to related mostly to my life and train of thought at the moment however is 1966's Keep On Trying b/w That's Your Problem.

I am currently in a Dutch-Beat mood and seem to be listening to a great deal of the stuff, The Outsiders are frequently on my turntable or car cd-player, the lyrics of Wally Tax act as a kindred spirit and a soulful remedy for me, Tax seems to 'get it', what 'it' is  can only really be known by the people who have 'it'.... for me lately 'it' seems to be an illness of sorts.

I relate to the Outsiders, cos I am an Outsider too (I don't mean that to give creedance or appear cool - cos being an Outsider sucks for the most part), misunderstood by the world around me, misunderstood by my family and misunderstood by even my closest friends.... I am most likely misunderstood to myself too!

But I thankfully have a bunch of records which help me deal with these moments and Holland's The Outsiders have always been the best of friends to me, they really seem to hit the spot some times.

Keep On Trying

This song is on repeat at the moment, lyrical aptitude and empathetic cadences to my current feelings on things, I like when the song goes into the weird refrain after the chorus section and adds a whole new dimension to the song, "Just You Keep On Running Around With Every Man, Every Man You Know Now, You've Got  Me Down And Out, I'll Be Crying Before You Know Now", giving way to a tremendous harmonica solo that you just don't get enough in songs anymore.... how can anyone not like a song with the opening lyric "Just Keep On Trying And You'll Succeed In Breaking My Heart, Just Keep On Lying And You'll Succeed In Tearing It Apart".... TOTAL GENIUS!!!

That's Your Problem 

This one ups the anti a little, ferocious guitar attack, lyrical angst, wailing harmonica, bass lines that can kill someone flat out, drums keeping everything held down together... this one kinda taps into the more dodgy head space my head goes at times..."I Like To Be On My Own, Girl From Now On You're  Alone".... "I Try To Be A Good Guy To Lend You A Helping Hand, I Told You, Every Reason Why, But You Never Understand?".... Confused yet Punk as hell Greatness there, Wally Tax was a conflicted guy, just like myself.

Dig It!!!


The Sevens - Seven b/w In God I Trust (Layola - 1965)

The Sevens were a really hip band from Switzerland during the mid 60s, and they released a handful of really cool 45s and one killer LP.

In my opinion 'In God I Trust' is one of the best 60s beat offerings from Europe, it is a fabulous piece of song-writing craft, I totally dig the minor-key change in the refrain, totally hip idea, the vocals sung in a perverse Jagger-esque manner complete with snotty attitude with added franticness in drums, guitar, bass and organ.... coming across like a better version of The Animals and giving Holland's The Outsiders a run for their money. The Sevens produced a wealth of consistently good material and this in my opinion is the icing on top of the cake for me.

The Sevens were -

Markus Hungerbuehler - Organ
Nando Gasparini - Drums
Pierre Aebischer - Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Michael Bovay - Bass
Pini Gasparini - Lead Guitar

The Sevens are the best thing to come out of Switzerland aside from Swiss Army Knives, Clock-Making, Albert Hoffman's experiments with LSD and Chocolate.

If you wish to purchase the Sevens LP... please feel free to take a look at my record label; State Records' Ebay store where we have the The Sevens LP available to purchase - TRUST ME it is a piece of  60s beat wonderment, and a totally killer and fantastic LP.

Listen to 'In God I Trust' below, if you have any sense it'll shatter your brain... this song is also on the LP too.

In God I Trust

Dig It!


The Weads - Today b/w Don't Call My Name (Duane - 1966)

One of my favourite double-decker 'garage' 45s is The Weads' moody folk-rock jangle triumph; Today b/w the sombre and down cast 'Don't Call My Name'.

Both sides of this record are hugely important in influencing my own music, if you are familiar with my own sounds you will hear similar song themes, similar jangley sound and the general  vibe are all pretty similar to this 45rpm, the first track on my LP 'I Go Walking' in fact was a slight nod of the hat to the track 'Today'.

The Weads recorded this killer 45 in of all places Bermuda, where the Duane label was based. Duane was owned by record shop owner and producer Eddy Demell who seemed to add a spark of genius onto the recordings released on his Duane label, this 45 alongside a whole album and 45 by The Savages are proof of his golden touch as it were.

Although The Weads had a record out in Bermuda, they were in fact from a small town in New York State called Stony Brook, the reason the band had a release in Bermuda was that one of their school friends was originally from the island and took a demo back on his return home (Thank God he did, else we may never have had these songs). Weirder stuff has been lost in the Bermuda Triangle, thankfully it wasn't The Weads' demos.

Here are both sides of the 45 for your listening enjoyment.


A brilliant piece of garage folk-jangle, this song to me is the epitome of the jangly Byrds-inspired sound that many groups recorded in the mid-60s, I really love this song, the sound of summer is evoked, yet their is a dark yearning in the lyrics, the song is reflective of a break-up and is total genius recording. I love songs which sound happy on the surface but have a strange sadness about them, this song is one-of-those types of song. As mentioned above this song has played a huge influence on my own music, in songs such as 'I Go Walking' and 'Time Will Tell', it will continue to influence me as I just adore the sound.

Don't Call My Name

YES!!!! this is a piece of confused and pissed-off genius, just listen to the lyrics "Now Don't You Think Of Me Anymore, Cos Now You're Just The Girl Next Door, Don't Call My Name!", sung in the most downtrodden yet beautiful harmony going, what a work of  pure greatness, I dream of writing songs like this. I love how the Farfisa Organ snakes in the background unnoticed but perfectly there, a great piece of song-writing, I love how the song seems to go up and down in a movement. This track totally compliments the A-side, they are kind of like Heaven and Hell, this being Hell off course, I take influence myself on my 45s by having an UP side as it were and DOWN side, it just is what most of the bands did back in the 60s garage genre.

So there you have it folks, a double sided work of the highest order.



Friday, 2 September 2011

The Shaynes - From My Window b/w I'll Always Be (Pee-Vee - 1966)

The attractive group of fella's above are responsible for creating one of the greatest existential masterpiece's of the mid 60s. The Shaynes were a group native to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for me they created a piece of 'outsider' music history when they wrote their genius ode to teen confusion and frustration; 'From My Window'.

Pennsylvania was a state which put out a great number of great and genius 'garage' band recordings, my own theory being that location wise it is trapped between The Mid-West and New England, so subtle influences from both these regional scene's combine together to create a really powerful and hip style of 'garage' music.

I am a big fan of records coming out of PA and New Jersey, for me it was a region that excelled in creating the perfect sound.

When I first heard this song years ago, it floored me, these kids seemed to have tapped into my mindset not only via lyrics but in the urgency of the music, the frantic  reverb guitar, the drums, the nervously played bass guitar, the minor-chord patterns, the haunting organ throughout.... a work of utter genius.

It is a moody garage tour-de-force of the highest magnitude and I would say it is personally one of my top 10 favourite records of all time.

The Shaynes were a popular group in their hometown and had three 45s (which all sold pretty well) released on the Pee Vee Label. Pee Vee was a record label which put out mainly doo-wop, teen-beat and progressive rock (in later years), the label operated between 1964-1974.

Take a listen below to the genius which is... The Shaynes 'From My Window'.