A very obscure 45 from Hollywood, Ca. which features a sultry and simple Beatlesque ballad. The midtempo flip is the stronger with its ringing and reverbed guitars more in a Searchers/Beau Brummels vein, and both exude a tentative charm. Any impact is more in its historical significance as the first release on Kim Fowley's modestly named Living Legend label and as the vehicle for two songs by budding writers Michael Lloyd and James Greenspoon. Lloyd arranged this and Fowley produced - was this their first recorded collaboration? Michael Lloyd would of course go on to achieve cult and legendary status as the whizz-kid behind the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and as a writer, arranger and producer (often in cahoots with Fowley) of so much more that is documented through-out this book - e.g. A.B.Skhy, American Revolution, Fire Escape, Grains Of Sand, Laughing Wind, Rubber Band, St. John Green, and The Smoke (on Capitol/Sidewalk). He also worked in partnership with Mike Curb and went on to become the youthful vice-president of MGM records. He continues to produce and command considerable respect to this day. The recent retrospective on the early days of WCPAEB (Volume One on Sundazed) features an interview with Michael that mentions the period but not this group - apparently he was also playing with a band called the Rogues around the time which featured Shaun and Danny Harris prior to the formation of WCPAEB.
So, we have to ask, who actually were The Arrogants?
NB: (2) has been reissued on CD by Repertoire (REP 4377-WY) 1993.
In a sometimes almost desperate search to elevate the standard of rock, many groups shared the desire to marry their music with classical compositions. Ars Nova succeed better than most in making a convincing attempt, since their brand of cross-over incorporates not only baroque instrumentation in a psychedelic environment, but also baroque composition techniques as fugas, chorales and pavanes, often scored for brass and guitar. On their first album, produced by Paul Rothschild and Arthur Gorson, they also write lovely tunes and the whole album does, surprisingly enough, not become as pretentious as it could have been, the name of the band notwithstanding. Two of the tracks even get covered (Fields Of People by The Move and I Wrapped Her ln Ribbons by Galliard, both U.K. bands!). Other highlights include March Of The Mad Duke's Circus, with vaguely renaissance-like harmonies and General Clover Ends A War, a bitter and driven satire on military affairs. Most tracks were penned by Wyatt Day, sometimes helped by Jon Pierson. Greg Copeland, a young songwriter also working with Steve Noonan and Jackson Browne, wrote the lyrics of four songs.
The formation changed after the first album and among the departing members, Maury Baker went on to play on Tim Buckley's Starsailor, Janis Joplin's Kosmic Blues and Augie Meyer's Head Music albums. Bill Folwell guested on the second Insect Trust album and Jonathan Raskin appeared on Tom Rush's Circle Game.
Their second effort in a completely revised line-up still finds them in good form regarding the playing, but they seemed to have lost their interest in the subtle art of their first. Some unusual harmonies are still to be found, but nevertheless more in a conventional rock frame.
After Ars Nova, Jon Pierson became a studio musician and played with Lou Reed.
Snap up the first LP when you come across it. Compilation appearances have so far included:- March Of The Mad Duke's Circus on Elektrock The Sixties (4-LP); I Wrapped Her In Ribbons on Kings Of Pop Music Vol. 2 (LP); and And How Am I To Know on Hallucinations, Psychedelic Underground (LP).
(Marcel Koopman / Stephane Rebeschini)
NB: (1) contains four tracks from 1967 including Kick Me.
NB: (1) as Ray Columbus and The Invaders. (2) as Ray Columbus and The Art Collection.
This transcendent San Mateo, California, combo uncannily clones that heart-stopping Who's Sell Out sound. The band was led by vocalist Ray Columbus (Invaders) who later formed Powder. Columbus was originally from New Zealand.
You can also find Kick Me on Off The Wall, Vol. 1 (LP).
(Vernon Joynson / Max Waller)
NB: (2) released as by Arthur Lee Harper with Second Coming. (2) reissued in 1998 (Synton T 9806).
The first album, recorded in Nov 1967, is a soft wistful folk LP by a Californian solo folkie, Arthur Lee Harper. Imaginative dealers may call this 'dreamlike psych' but they're only dreaming of how much they can boost its price! He did not release any 45s for Lee Hazelwood's label, but later released a privately pressed album under his real name. This is reputedly better and rockier.
(Vernon Joynson/Max Waller)
NB: (1) pirated on CD 1997.
A Massachussefts outfit whose album is full of interesting and quite imaginative pop/folk-rock, obscure enough to have been reissued. Apart from a cover of Tim Hardin's Hang On To A Dream, all the songs were penned by Paul Applebaum. It's certainly worth hearing.
Take David Arvedon, a bona fide sixties New England legend, add seasoned studio cats, and inflict a severe case of lyrical weirdness, aardvarks, and quality songwriting in the league of Lucia Pamela and The Shaggs. The double CD compilation, which includes his limited edition LP, 8-track, both 45s and extra unreleased material is about as contorted and convoluted as homegrown music gets. David Arvedon was with Psycho's Psychopaths aka the Psychopaths in the 60s..
You can also find a previously unreleased cut Buckets Of Water on the strange Only In America CD comp.
Los Angeles area releases by an unknown outfit , whose Wheel Of Fortune is appealing midtempo melodic garagey-pop with some fuzz buried low in the mix, Turtles' style 'ba-ba-baaa's, but with upfront brassy outbursts. Joni is much better - a galloping fuzz-popper without the brass. It's not certain that the Mira 45 is by the same group.
From the Hornell, New York area. The 'A' side has resurfaced on Back From The Grave, Vol. 8 (Dble LP) and the track was also covered in 1997 by the Others (a nouveau Italian garage-psych band) on their 10" So Far Out under the title Won't Be Home.
This band came from Pontiac, Michigan, where they were a frequent live attraction in local teen clubs between 1964 and August 1966 when their lead guitarist and drummer quit for college. So Good is a raw recording with rockabilly-style guitar, but the label name says it all.
Compilation coverage has so far included:- So Good on Back From The Grave, Vol. 6 (LP), Punk Classics, Vol. 2 (7" EP) and Michigan Mayhem Vol. 1 CD; Who Will It Be? on Teenage Shutdown, Vol. 8 (LP & CD).
(Max Waller/Mike Markesich)
NB: (4) only 200 copies pressed.
A Rhode Island outfit who leant towards R&B and soulful sounds. Much of their output is described as "soul-garage". Their debut is showcases a chunky beat number with a fratty sound, backed by a forceful slowed-down version of the Beatles song.
Rick Desilets would release a solo 45, which is not recommended by Aram Heller in his New England bible 'Til The Stroke Of Dawn'. Aram also reveals that members of the Ascots would later form The Deviled Ham.
The above line-up is that featured on the album. This Los Angeles band's original drummer was, of course, Spencer Dryden, before he joined Jefferson Airplane. The remaining members, aside from Taylor, later teamed up with Bill Wolff, Lance Feat and Sandi Robinson to become The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.
The Ashes also have four tracks (both sides of their first two singles) on the 1967 Vault compilation, West Coast Love-In (LP). Every Little Prayer, Is There Anything I Can Do?, Dark On You Now and Roses Gone are all characterised by the distinctive melodies that typified so many mid-sixties English bands like The Fortunes. They feature Sandi Robinson rather than Pat Taylor on vocals. Their album is well worth a spin. A very hippyish sixties album with nice lead vocals.
One time vocalist-drummer with The Vejtables (she sang lead on their local hit I Still Love You and their cover of Tom Paxton's Last Thing On My Mind), she recorded an electro-folk track Cold Dreary Morning, which was a good platform for her vocal talents but remained unreleased until its inclusion on Nuggets, Vol. 7 (LP), after leaving The Vejtables and prior to joining The Mojo Men.
Both unreleased 1967 tracks Cold Dreary Morning and About My Tears have been re-aired on the CD comp Someone To Love (CD), part of Alec Palao and Big Beat's utterly essential Nuggets From The Golden State series.
This LP is one of the more celebrated and rated examples of a subgenre which tends to go under the banner of 'exploito', which has gained interest and become more collectable in the last few years. Whilst covering many styles of music and moving into 'exotica' territory, we're only concerned here with trying to unravel those that exploited the psychedelic, garage or flower-power genres.
What is 'exploitio' - briefly it's the cash-in on the latest musical wave at minimal cost. Both the music and artists are exploited by covering or reworking (and often retitling) current hits in the latest styles. Songwriting and artist credits or identity rarely appear because the artist was just a bunch of session musicians. Occasionally a real group would be hired on the cheap who couldn't (and at the time wouldn't have wanted to) reveal their true identity (not unlike Elton John's early career as a hired hand on all those U.K. 'Top Of The Pops' LPs). The music is frequently reused and recycled appearing on different LPs, labels, with new arrangements and often a new title. Mike Curb of Sidewalk was already having great success in recycling music and groups - his 'house-band' were Davie Allan & The Arrows who went under many assumed names. This was very effective in cutting down on studio and artist costs, to provide cheap music for the masses and still make big bucks.
THE LABELS: generally found on budget labels like Contessa, Crown, Alshire, Wing, Wyncote, Custom, Design (equivalents in the U.K. would include Music For Pleasure, Starline and Marble Arch, and Europa on the continent).
SLEEVES/ARTWORK: It's with psych that most tried to cash in. Sleeve designs tend to be in two camps: splashes and swirls of colour in paisley or oil-slide style accompanied by San Francisco poster-sytle lettering, or a semi-clad leggy chick surrounded by records (as in this case). Even the LP artwork got recycled too - in the case of this LP the same design was used on a Firebirds LP.
MUSIC: The music ranges from totally naff to quite awesome: fuzz-psych extravaganzas, covering Hendrix or just trying to sound like him; fuzzy jazz-lounge instrumentals or instrumental reworkings (and renames) of recent hits; awful MOR pop or loungey ballad muzak. Unfortunately these extremes can be experienced on just one platter making the notion that it was one 'artist' unrealistic. Very few of these LPs don't have at least a couple of barfers.
FAKE GROUPS: This is where confusion really starts - Some LPs give the impression that it's a bona-fide group via a pic or sleeve notes but the same music may turn up elswhere under a different artist name and sometimes track name, e.g. Animated Egg. Also rumoured to be a bogus group is the Purple Fox - Tribute To Jimi Hendrix LP.
NON-GROUPS: Most of these are session musicians but even then one LP will not be by one group of sessioneers - given the reappearance of the same tracks on other LPs and the different syles and sounds - the name is most likely just a convenient and colourful handle for a collection of material. Examples: Associated Soul Group, Projection Company, Rasput & Sepoy Mutiny, T. Swift & The Electric Bag, Underground. Most of these 'names' had just the one release - one exception is the conglomeration known as 101 Strings.
BONA-FIDE GROUPS: the Firebirds (later Electric Firebirds and 31st Flavor) are thought to have been a genuine gorup. Another example is the Chimps, who recorded the rather good Monkey Business LP on Wyncote ( 2 Monkees covers and some good garage sounds) - they would later be known as the (Thomas A.) Edison Electric Band.
These LPs throw other outfits into question - the Projection Company LP features three covers of Id Inner Sounds LP tracks - Wild Times, Don't Think Twice and Boil The Kettle. The first 2 turn up on the Associated Soul Group LP and are exactly the same tracks. Whilst not the same as on the Id's LP, they sound close enough to question whether the bunch who recorded as the Id were behind some of the material on these two LPs.
So , what about the Associated Soul Group LP itslef? In the main it's above-par: five tracks recycled on the Projection Company LP; covers include a great version of Are You Experienced (T.Swift & The Electric Bag do this too), an awful Up Up And Away (5th Dimension), Macarthur Park (Jim Webb/Richard Harris) and two Simon & Garfunkel numbers with rehashed (i.e. misheard) lyrics - Sound Of Silence and Scarborough Fair. Other tracks sound remarkably like the Animated Egg to add to the confusion.
Any further information or unravelling of this tangled skein will be most welcome!! (Max very Myndblown)
Not a garage or psychedelic band as such, this Los Angeles band largely falls outside the remit of this book. If you were one of the lucky people who purchased 'An American Rock History: Vol. 1 - California, The Golden State' you can read all about them in there. They did, however, manage one foray into psychedelia, a rather strange record Pandora's Golden Heebie Geebies, named after Pandora's Box, the infamous Sunset Strip nightclub. You'll find it on Nuggets Vol. 5 (LP).
This lot hailed from the Lansing area, around Central Southern Michigan. The 'A' side is a pretty good cover of a Contours song, the flip's rather an unusual Farfisa-laden song with classic lyrics and effective folk-punk vocals. It's resurfaced on Highs In The Mid Sixties, Vol. 19 (LP).
Sole 45 from a Duncanville, Texas outfit. Despite the vocalist's occasional Elvis pretensions, this mid-tempo garage-ballad has an infectious guitar refrain. Our Love is more rocky but with some solid fuzz. Rosa-Lynn was written by a guy from Carbondale PA, who now says that the 45 was not supposed to be released.
Rosa Lynn can also be found on Acid Dreams Vol. 2 (LP).
(Max Waller / Mike Markesich)
NB: (1) reissued on CD (Gear Fab GF-153) 2000 and vinyl (Gear Fab GF-206).
A NYC studio project. In addition to the personnel above there's string, horn and woodwind sections - in the former is Harry Lookofsky, father of the Left Banke's Michael Brown (Lookofsky). Al Gorgoni was previously one half of Just Us, with Chip Taylor. Hugh McCracken had fronted his own outfit the Funatics, and became an in-demand session player.
If orchestrated concept hippie-flower-pop is your bag (man), this should appeal. Garageniks, on the other hand, should steer clear.
(Max Waller/Stephane Rebeschini)
NB: (6) & (7) have been reissued on one CD by Collectables (COL-2709) 1997. (8) & (9) reissued on one CD by Collectables (COL-2710) 1997.
NB: (2), (3) & (4) not confirmed as by this Astronauts. (16) as Sunshine Ward
For garage/psych purists with raised eyebrows at this entry, scoff ye not. Boulder's famous Astronauts may tend to be regarded as just an instrumental or surf group, but this is being grossly unfair, and I've been as guilty as many in that regard until recently. Yes, they did do instrumentals but vocals were predominant in their later material. What's more this talented bunch embraced beat, Invasion, and folk-rock styles to keep pace with the rapidly changing sounds of the times. Interested now? Read on.
Kicking off as the Stormtroopers in 1959 (lineup 'A') they changed their name to the Astronauts on releasing their first 45. On winning a contract with RCA they spent much of their time based in Los Angeles to record, lap up the surf and sunshine vibes and appear in some surf movies. Baja was a sizable hit and set them fair with RCA - resulting in 9 LPs and a large handful of 45s in just 4 years. When the bubble finally burst and their name and sound seemed to be a fading star at the onset of the psychedelic era, they changed their name to Sunshine Ward in an attempt to revive their fortunes. It didn't work, RCA lost interest and original mainstay Bob Demmon departed. The others tried one last relaunch after more personnel shuffles, firstly as Sunshine Ward and then after one final name change as Hardwater.
Collectables has recently reissued their LPs on 2-for-1 ('twofer') CDs and the pair above might interest readers of this book. For those into the original vinyl and still to be convinced, try the Travelin' Men LP (includes covers of I Know You Rider, Midnight Hour, and the Beau Brummels' Laugh Laugh) or the more obviously Merseybeat influenced Down The Line LP (the Big O's title track, Down Home Girl, Walking The Dog, Sweet Little Rock And Roller, Memphis Tennessee). The obvious weakness with their last two LPs is that there are no group originals at all, unlike their earlier releases. So, although they may have adapted to playing these styles, writing them was a different proposition. However, it would be unkind to brand them a 'covers band'.
Compilation appearances - on beat/garage/psych comps - are restricted to their rare debut Come Along Baby on Highs In The Mid Sixties, Vol. 18 (LP); Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day on Let's Dig 'Em Up, Vol. 2 - The Count Game (LP) and Let's Dig 'Em Up, Vol. 1 (CD); Baby, Please Don't Go on Out Of Sight (LP); and both Can't You See I Do and My Sin Is My Pride on Prisoners Of The Beat (LP).