NB: (1) reissued in 1971 (Smash SRS-67107, group photo cover), (2) also issued in Holland (Philips 6369107) 1971. (2) reissued in 1974 (Shelter 2120), 1976 (Shelter 52010) and 1979 (MCA 684).
A Los Angeles-based venture, which for Russell and Benno represented a largely unsuccessful journey into psychedelia. After a first single as Le Cirque, their debut album was released. This sold badly, partly because the cover featured a toilet roll, but mainly because the music was quite patchy. A mix of pop, R&B and psych, with arrangements (especially on the second side). Smash later reissued it with a group cover. Benno and Russell wrote all the songs, with the assistance of Greg Dempsey (Daughters Of Albion), Bill Boatman, Jerry Riopelle and the mysterious Markham and Wilson, who may have played on the backing group.
Although the second album was recorded in April 1969, Mercury did not release it on their Smash subsidiary and Russell bought the tapes to release it on his own Shelter label two years later. It's bluesier than the debut and contains some good songs (notably an anti Vietnam song Ballad To A Brother).
Russell and Benno's involvement is the main reason why collectors seek out these albums.
Born in 1947 in Dallas, Benno would later play with The Doors (on L.A. Woman), Rita Coolidge and Rick Roberts. He also released three excellent albums on A&M between 1970 and 1972, recorded with Ry Cooder, Jesse Ed Davis and Clarence White. Afterwards he disappeared only to return in 1979 with Lost In Austin (with Eric Clapton). In the '90s, he has recorded two good texas blues albums.
(Vernon Joynson/Stephane Rebeschini)
NB: (4) may be by a different group.
Part of LA's East Side scene, this was a group Mexican Amercians out of El Monte. They have been well compiled: - Beaver Shot (written by Max Uballez of the Romancers/Smoke Rings) and Sloop Dance feature on The East Side Sound, Vol. 1 (CD); Beaver Shot and Fine Fine Fine on Rampart Records EP (7"); Beaver Shot on The East Side Sound, Vol. 1 (LP); Sonny And Cher on The East Side Sound Vol. 2 (LP); Home On The Range on The West Coast East Side Sound, Vol. 2 (CD); Sloop Dance on The West Coast East Side Sound, Vol. 3 (CD); Beaver Shot on The West Coast East Side Sound, Vol. 4 (CD); and finally Sloop Dance is also on 1969's double-LP comp East Side Revue and East Side Revue, Vol. 1 (LP).
An album Live At The Nite Lite (Hashish) c1970, was probably recorded by a different Atlantics, but has been described as "lounge act with wah wah guitar and a pretty little vocalist with a big voice".
(Max Waller / Stephane Rebeschini)
On the same label as Ken Little, a prog rock album, keyboard driven, with lots of rhythm changes.
Produced by Joel Sill, Atlee were a good hard-rock quartet from California. All the tracks on their sole album were penned by Yeager and demonstrate the bands skills and their sense of humor: Jesus People, Dirty Sheets, Dirty Old Man, Let's Make Love are just some highlights of a very consistent album. Still working with Michael Stevens, Atlee Yeager would go on to issue another album on Chelsea in 1973.
(Max Waller / Clark Faville / Stephane Rebeschini)
After The Hassles, Billy Joel and Jon Small formed Attila, a keyboards/drums duo a la Lee Michaels. Joel was then playing a distorted Hammond B-3 and the forceful percussions help to create some strange sounds, very very far from Honesty! The record was a total flop but is now beginning to attract the attention of some collectors.
NB: (3) credited to The Huns Of Time.
Initially based in Thorp, Wisconsin this soulful combo was assembled in 1964. In 1967 they got a contract on Lenny LacCour's Magic label almost by accident. They'd been contacted by an agency in Milwaukee after placing second in a Battle Of The Bands in Wausau. They got lost and ended up at the studios of Dave Kennedy, who passed them onto Lenny laCour who liked what he heard, signed them, and would later come up with a new name for them - The Filet Of Soul.
Their poppiest confection, The Vineyards Of My Time, can also be found on Every Groovy Day (LP).
(Max Waller/Tom Tourville/Gary Myers)
A Christian soft rock singer, her orchestrated album is rare but not recommended.
NB: (1) limited heavy vinyl reissue in 2000 on Shadoks.
A trio of fresh-faced youths, said to be from New Jersey (though the LP seems to have been recorded in Philadelphia). It is extremely rare - asking prices in the region of $2500 accompanied by descriptions like "garage folk-rock" have generated interest and finally a reissue to satisfy curiosity.
Even the above description is somewhat optimistic and if you're expecting an undiscovered garage monster you'll be disappointed. This is muted lo-fi pop - from moody to perky - permeated by a coy charm evoked by vulnerable vocals and hesitant harmonies. The good-timey vibe of The Lovin' Spoonful is much in evidence (they cover Full Measure) and some Anglophile whimsy, via the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby.
NB: Later members included Reese Martin, Boots Houston, Sean Silverman and Steve Bowman.
NB: (1) also issued in France (Sire SHK 8401) 1969. (2) was also issued in France (CBS S 63911) 1970.
Led by singer/multi-instrumentalist Wayne Ceballos, the little know Aum stand as also-rans in the lexicon of '60s San Francisco bands. With drummer Larry Martin and bassist Ken Newell rounding out the trio, the group's initial reputation stemmed from their jam-oriented concerts.
Initially signed by the London-affiliated Sire label, as one would expect from the title, the group's 1969's Bluesvibes found them working in a distinctively blues-vein. Reflecting the band's live act, the Richard Gotthrer produced debut featured a series of seven extended jams, (the shortest song clocking in at four minutes). With Ceballos writing the majority of the material, in spite of period excesses (e.g. aimless soloing), originals such as Mississippi Mud and Chilli Woman weren't half bad. Moreover, Ceballos proved a decent singer, injecting considerable energy into his performances. Among the few short-comings, the band's ponderous cover of John Loudermilk's Tobacco Road would've been suitable for Vanilla Fudge.
One of the first acts to be signed to Bill Graham's Fillmore label, 1969's Resurrection teamed the band with producer David Rubinson. As one might have guessed from the album title (let alone the back cover which showed three crosses), their sophomore effort found the band pursuing a pseudo-religious agenda. In spite of occasionally clunky lyrics and an irritating degree of echo, Ceballos-penned material such as God Is Back In Town, the ballad Only I Know and Today And Tomorrow wasn't too bad. Boasting a nifty Ceballos guitar solo, the stately title track is the stand-out cut. Elsewhere, the driving Bye Bye Baby and Little Brown Hen recall Quicksilver Messenger Service. Certainly not likely to get top-40 airplay, but San Francisco certainly turned out worse sounding bands. Commercially the band did nothing; the trio calling it quits shortly thereafter.
In 1975, Larry Martin would play with Charlie Musselwhite.
(Vernon Joynson/Stephane Rebeschini/Gary Myers/Scott Blackerby)
A powerful horn-jazz rock outfit from Los Angeles. The stand-out cut on the album is Life Is Free on side two. Chuck Greenberg (flute, sax) and Terry Quaye (congas) also guested on the album.
An obscure sixties combo from Arizona.
NB: (1) reissued on vinyl by Edsel in 1988 (ED 286). (1) also counterfeited on CD and later reissued officially (Acadia ACA 8011) 2001.
Formed in 1966 by bluegrass fanatic Thomas Donaher and multi-instrumentalist Darius Davenport, Autosalvage was one of the mid-60s more impressive jug band outfits. Boasting an exceptionally talented line-up, including ex-Ian and Sylvia sideman Rick Turner and bassist Skip Boone (brother of the Lovin' Spoonful's Steve Boone), the band's sound melded authentic jug band moves with rock instrumentation, a sense of enthusiasm and a willingness to expanded into progressive and out of the ordinary directions.
Reportedly dscovered by Frank Zappa while on a visit to New York, with Zappa's support the group was signed by RCA Victor. Their album, Autosalvage offered up one of 1968's odder musical hybrids. Exemplified by original material such as Land Of Their Dreams, Burglar Song and Rampant Generalities the collection featured a weird mixture of Byrds-styled country rock (Rampart Generalities), blues-rock (Good Morning Blues), psychedelia (Auto Salvage) and outright pretense. What made the set truly maddening was the fact that while all four members were undeniably talented, they seldom brought those talents together. Among the few tracks worth hearing more than once were the nifty title effort and the single Parahighway/Rampart Generalities. Not to sound too damning, the band's willingness to try new things makes it oddly endearing, if not particularly commercial, or memorable. Unfortunately, it all came to little avail since the band called it quits shortly thereafter.
Boone and Davenport subsequently reappeared supporting the short-lived Bear and then as sessions players, including Terence Boylan's 1969 solo album. Rick Turner went on to work with Jerry Corbitt and Jeffrey Cain. He later became a well-known guitar builder/repairer (notably for Ry Cooder).
Compilation appearances include: Land Of Their Dreams on Psychedelic Frequencies (CD).
(Vernon Joynson/Stephane Rebeschini/Scott Blackerby)
This album by an obscure Arizonan band has generated some interest from collectors. A hippie progressive album it features some weaving organ work and superb guitar leads.
This band is best known for Naturally Stoned which hit the Billboard chart at No. 40. and is best described as orchestrated 'psychedelic pop' (the lyrics may be psychedelic but the music is pop) with the backing sounding like a James Bond-type movie theme. It is the flip side which has been compiled however: Honey and Gall resurfacing on Psychedelic Unknowns Vol. 8 (LP & CD) and being an unusual and captivating hippie-psychedelic effort.
Yellow Beads is also dreamy acoustic hippie-pop in their unique style. The final 45 reverts to more standard orchestrated pop format effort on Fly With Me but is rescued by the electrified folk-pop flip.
All their material was composed by B. Fowler or C. Woolery, who it turns out is none other than Chuck Woolery, who would later become one of America's top game show hosts-- he was the original emcee of "Wheel of Fortune" before adding his brand of smarminess to the matchmaking "Love Connection".
(Max Waller / Des Dev / Tom Truszkowski)
This garage outfit from Bakersfield, California but were part of the Los Angeles club scene. Their finest moments were probably Be A Caveman, a slice of three chord arrogance and Open Your Eyes, a fine song with superb instrumentation and catchy folk-rock vocals. Shipwrecked is a Farfisa-led song with fine throaty vocals, and You Can't Hurt Me Any More has a rockin' beat with a neat choppy solo. It's Hard To Hide, is a jaunty folkish rocker, with a neat reverb effect on the organ - in stark contrast to the primitive beat displayed on Be A Caveman. A band well worth checking out, especially for that second single.
The Avengers were managed by Bakersfield KAFY DJ Mike Lunky, and Ken Johnson also wrote I Can Read Between The Lines, the flip to Gary Lewis and The Playboys 1966 hit Green Grass. After The Avengers disbanded, Ken Johnson returned to the Bakersfield music scene and became involved in Gary Paxton's Bakersfield International studio crowd as a session player and songwriter.
Through Paxton and with fellow Bakersfield performer and songwriter Dennis Payne, they recorded a series of albums for Al Sherman's Alshire International label in the late 1960's as the California Poppy Pickers. Paxton leased various other recording projects to Alshire, which may have involved Johnson.
As one might expect, The Avengers' material has been heavily compiled including: Be A Caveman on Highs In The Mid-Sixties, Vol. 1 (LP), Boulders, Vol. 1 (LP), Best of Pebbles, Vol. 1 (LP & CD), Pebbles Vol. 2 (CD) and Pebbles, Vol. 3 (ESD) (CD); Open Your Eyes on Acid Dreams Epitaph (CD), Acid Dreams - The Complete 3 LP Set (3-LP), Folk Rock E.P. (7") and Ya Gotta Have... Moxie, Vol. 1 (Dble CD); Open Up Your Eyes and It's Hard To Hide on Highs In The Mid Sixties, Vol. 20 (LP); It's Hard To Hide on Pebbles Vol. 8 (CD); Shipwrecked on Garage Punk Unknowns, Vol. 3 (LP); and I Told You So on Garage Punk Unknowns, Vol. 1 (LP).
(Max Waller/Rick Lewis/Jason Odd/Mike Dugo w/thanks to Dugan Turner)
A decent garage outfit from Syracuse, New York State. Reflection from their sole 45 has subsequently been compiled on Echoes In Time, Vol. 2 (LP), Echoes In Time Vol's 1 & 2 (CD) and I'm Trippin' Alone (LP).
Both 45s thought to emanate from a Philadelphia area band in the mid-to-late 60s. The Van Dyk 45 is awful pre-beat pop with keening female-male vocals and should be avoided. Crying All Alone is a big beat ballad with brass BUT done with garage style and sentiments plus a great fuzz and brass solo - definitely different and a pleasant surprise (though probably not for purists). The flip is a brassy pop ballad.
Compilation appearances have included: No Wonder and Crying' All Alone on Searching For Love (LP).
From Memphis, these Avengers recorded Batarang in 1966, an excellent bluesy instrumental cut with great guitar leads and organ. Cashing in on the Batman craze, these masked marauders turned out to be none other Lawson and Four More augmented by Jim Dickinson and Lee Baker. This 45 appeared between their two Lawson and Four More releases on Ardent.
It has still to be confirmed whether the MGM 45 has any connection to this outfit at all - it may just have been another caped crusader cash-in by a same-name outfit ("Holy confounding coincidences, Batman").
Batarang has subsequently been compiled on It Came From Memphis (Upstart 022) 1995.
(Stephane Rebeschini/Max Waller/Ron Hall)
An obscure outfit from North Carolina, whose Mad Man's Fate comes on like the Animals doing a moody soul ballad - eminently listenable but unlikely to appear on a garage comp. The less interestin' flip (in my opinion), a low-key garage affair with neat harp, appears on Lost Generation, Vol. 1 (LP).
Max Waller drew my attention to this 45 which has not yet figured on any compilations. The 'A' side is an airy psychedelic effort, the flip a heavily-Vanilla Fudge inspired slice of bombast with a psychedelic edge.
NB : (1) also released in the UK, reissued on CD and LP (Ascension ANCD012/ANLP012) 2000. (2) reissued on CD and LP (Ascension ANCD013/ANLP013) 2000. (3) reissued on CD and LP (Ascension ANCD014/ANLP014) 2000. (4) reissued on LP 2000. (5) reissued on CD (Big Beat CDBGPM ) 1999. There's also CD compilation 1968-1970 An Axelrod Anthology (EMI 7243 4 99405 2 9), also issued as a double LP with extra track (EMI 7243 4 994051 2).
David Axelrod was a producer, arranger and songwriter, who is now mostly remembered for his work with the Electric Prunes' Mass In F Minor and Release Of An Oath. He formed Pride in 1970 and he also released several solo albums which may interest some readers looking for a mix of psyche with neo-classical arrangements.
Hoyt Axton began his career in the '60s as a songwriter for the Kingston Trio and his songs have been covered by Ringo Starr, Three Dog Night and many other popular acts. He was also an actor and a country singer. A multi-faceted talent, he also wrote two excellent songs dealing with the subject of drugs which were popularized by Steppenwolf: The Pusher and Snow Blind Friend (the latter also covered by Tim Williams). His song Never Been To Spain was covered by Morning.
Several of his albums may be of interest to some readers, notably Joy To The World, with a fantastic hard-blues version of The Pusher (with Chris Darrow on electric fiddle) and California Women. His 1969 album My Griffin Is Gone was also considered "a psychedelic relic" by Rolling Stone.
Hoyt Axton worked with Arlo Guthrie in the early seventies but sadly died in 1999.
Compilation appearances include: The Pusher on First Vibration (LP).
The official Hoyt Axton site can be found at: http://www.sixcats.com/axton/hoyt.htm
(Stephane Rebeschini/Ed Hill)
NB: (1) reissued on vinyl as a limited, numbered edition of 300 copies (ELCO102), 1997. Also reissued on CD.
Hailing from Citrus Heights, near Sacramento, California, this outfit's now ultra rare and sought-after album is similar in mould to Agape with religious lyrics, but not quite as good. Musically, this is a keyboard dominated progressive which also has some good guitar moments and melodic vocals. All the songs are penned by the band with The Prophet, From This Place and Judgement Day among the album's finer moments.
The band had previously been known as Help, but changed their name to Azitis following a conflict with the Decca band Help. After the Decca group broke up, they reverted to their original monicker to record a further 45.
For more information on the band, check their website: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Keep/3879
(Vernon Joynson / Clark Faville / Max Waller)
A rave-up live-set by a little-known group. Their album has a photo of the Beatles in a corner of the front cover, quoting them as saying "The Best Club We've Ever Been In"!
Hailed from Gary, Indiana where they had started life in 1963 as The Valuables, a Beatles/Everly Brothers covers band. In late 1966, having developed a harsher persona, they recruited the lead singer/guitarist from The Squires, another popular Gary band, and recorded the above 45. Just 100 copies were pressed for friends and family. I Said Move is a pretty powerful rocker, whilst the flip is an uptempo effort with jangly folk-punk guitar and tambourine.
Compilation appearances have so far included: I Said Move on Back From The Grave, Vol. 4 (LP) and Back From The Grave, Vol. 2 (CD); and The Little Streets In My Town on Back From The Grave, Vol. 5 (LP).