Lost Grooves newly released for June 10, 2008

This is a big week for Beach Boys freaks, with the release of the ginormous US Singles Collection Box collection (1962-65), a 16-CD limited edition set of early A & B sides, live and alternate takes, with a 48-page hardbound book of photos, all wrapped in a hotrod inspired box with wood, foam and foil inlay.

Two early, deeply weird Alice Cooper Band albums see the light of day anew with Rhino Encore's reissues of Pretties for You and Easy Action. This is the Alice we like to talk about on the Esotouric Where the Action Was rock history tour, hanging out at the Landmark Hotel getting his eyes did by Miss Christine of the GTOs. Also new from Rhino Encore, Warren Zevon's Mr. Bad Example, from 1991.

Collector's Choice issues a couple of mid-period albums from Arthur Lee's Love, Out Here (with the remake of "Signed D.C.") and False Start (with a Lee-Hendrix collaboration).

Then there's the Lydia Lunch video compedium Hysterie – 1978-2006, just the thing to celebrate this week's Teenage Jesus & the Jerks reunion in NYC.

 

 

 

Here Comes Summer…..

Sure,
every time this year,
as temps and spirits begin to rise
and the time gets right for doing
something in the street,

we could So easily get
laid back and lost within the usual grooves
of those Beach Boys,
Jan and/or Dean,
Fantastic Baggys (!!!)
or even Los Nooney Rickett Four.

but,
If you’re ready for a brand new beat instead
all this summer long,

May I suggest you tune on, log in,
turn up and hang at least 10dB
right over there at
Gary Pig Gold dot com,

thanx to our very hot pals
dba Zuzula, that is.

Listen !!

Feel The Flame

Hello kiddies! Day three of my renewed music media blitz on this great site. Rejuvenated, re-energized and regurgitating only the best information about bands you should already know about but probably don’t, I am here to light your flame about The Flame.
As you will be able to tell (especially if you find their albums and listen to them), they were one of the best Badfinger/Beatles inspired bands to ever come down the pike.

Read on:

The Flame – self titled
Fallout Records

Those who love the late, lamented, oft-troubled band known as Badfinger are hereby put on notice to check out Fallout Record’s 2006 reissue of the eponymously titled Stateside debut album of South African pop-rock band The Flame. Originally released by the band in 1970, the album has been a much-sought-after collector’s item for those into power pop and classic rock. Produced by Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys but not sounding at all like that band, this album is sure to turn the heads of many music fans who hate the suckery of today’s modern rock and wish it sounded like it used to when it used to…um….rock.

While it is easy as a reviewer to compare The Flame’s special brand of rock to the Beatles and the above mentioned Badfinger, there are many layers to the band’s sound, probably owing to the band’s South American origin. Sure, the material is above average melodic rock by a group of musicians who had no doubt paid attention to the templates laid down by the best of the English bands of the ’60s but that’s not all the band offers. It’s also got depth and soul, and it’s far from being just a Sgt. Pepper pastiche.

But, before I comment on the band itself too much, I would like to make a few comments about the reissue label, Fallout Records.

Fallout Records is a direct descendent of Radioactive Records, a controversial record label that recently had to shutter it’s doors thanks to some lawsuits won by the Jimi Hendrix estate. It seems the owner of Radioactive Records issued a slew of Hendrix live tapes brought to them by an outside party without permission from the Hendrix family, which is why they were ended up on Radioactive instead of the Hendrix estate’s own label. During the trial it became well known that Hendrix wasn’t the only artist being ripped off by the label. Radioactive Records specialized in issuing rare psyche albums from the 1968 to 1973 period but instead of licensing the albums from the previous labels or artists themselves, Radioactive would just sell “needle drops” of those rare albums.

For those who don’t know, a “needle drop” is a term for a CD recording made from a regular vinyl album and not a master. In other words, most Radioactive releases are bootlegs, albeit authentic looking bootlegs.

When Radioactive closed down, Fallout suddenly came to life and one can only think that Fallout is doing business the exact same way. So, just for your knowledge, whenever you purchase a Radioactive Records or Fallout Records release musicians are not being paid for their work and most often they will be “needle-drops” as is this release. I say this not to criticize the policies of this label, just to let people know so they can make an informed choice when and if they decide to spend money on this label’s merchandise.

Fortunately, for those interested in checking out The Flame’s album, the sound is excellent for such a process and is one of the better “needle-drops” I’ve heard from these kinds of labels.

Now, back to the music:

A four-piece started by Blondie Chaplin and the Fataar brothers (Steve, Ricky and Edries), the band released a couple of albums in its’ native South Africa and had even scored a couple hits there (most notably a cover of the evergreen soul ballad “For Your Precious Love”) but had trouble gaining a foothold in other markets with their R&B-based pop sound. Caught live by Wilson during a Beach Boys tour overseas, the band was invited to be a part of the Beach Boys’ label, Brother Records. While initial recordings were tentative and pedestrian, the Beach Boys’ organization owned their own studio and gave the band plenty of time to experiment with their compositions and flesh them out. Wilson obviously saw a lot of talent in the band, and rightfully so, as this album is one of the greatest pop delights ever released in the ’70’s, despite its’ low sales. Sunshine-filled pop rock of the highest order, the band’s top-flight musicianship give the songs more muscle than most bands recording the same type of music. Unfortunately, the album did not take off despite the backing of the Beach Boys and their team at Brother Records.

Thanks to the album’s low sales, a second stateside album was never released (although a follow-up was actually recorded – hopefully these tapes will surface one day) and two of the now-defunct band’s four members were drafted into the Beach Boys themselves, Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin. The other two Fataar brothers left the music business entirely.

Chaplin and Fataar’s tenure as Beach Boys was short lived, however, and by 1975 they were out of the band and out doing solo projects. Fellow music geeks may notice their names as session players and singers on tons of albums with Fataar’s claim to fame being a member of The Rutles and Chaplin’s recent notoriety stemming from a long tenure as a sideman for the touring version of the Rolling Stones besides tossing out a solo album here and there.

This album will appeal to all fans of late ’60’s and late ’70’s rock as it mixes a bunch of elements ranging from British rock to folk to some psychedelic touches as well. After listening to an album like this one can only wonder what could have happened to the band should their album have been a success. Their songs compare favorably to anything by McCartney, Pete Ham or Emmitt Rhodes. Tempering the pure joy at checking out a discovery like this is the tinge of sadness when the realization hits that there could have been more music from this great band if only more poeple had been listening. Still, this is a mighty fantastic album by a band you should check out immediately.

There you have it. Another great band on which to spend your hard-earned dollars. Don’t fret, however, as this album is well worth your shekels. Buy it and turn it way up. You’ll thank me……

Marty Rudnick – “more songs about cars and girls” CD (Sandbox)

Medium Image

There’s no cause to doubt the title and beach party cover art: Rudnick’s disc is packed with sleepy, summery retro sounds that neatly split the difference between classy ’80s pop (M. Crenshaw, dB’s, Smithereens) and later, lusher Beach Boys. The tunes, arrangements and boyishly nasal harmonies (partly courtesy the Rubinoos) are tasteful, catchy and only sometimes silly. Bonus tracks include a couple vocals-only takes, and lovingly realized demos of the Beatles’ “Yes It Is” and Beach Boys’ “Til I Die.” Sweet stuff that power popsters will want to hear.

In one Stec, we can Usher in a new Millenium

Not too long ago, maybe a few months ago, I stumbled upon a record reissue label called Sonic Past(www.sonicpastmusic.com) which is quickly releasing some of the most incredible vintage pop and rock music.

I first noticed the label while perusing the Brian Wilson section of my local record hut. There sat a CD entitled “Smile For Me” which is a symphonic tribute to Brian Wilson which was produced, arranged and conducted by noted producer Gary Usher. While you may or may not know the name, Usher has been involved with many ’60’s pop hits and had done a lot of work with the Beach Boys when they were scoring hits right and left.

Interested in everything Wilson, I immediately picked it up and when I got home, put it in the CD player immediately. What I encountered next was a glorious tribute to Brian Wilson’s genius featuring many of the same musicians Wilson himself had used when creating the Beach Boys’ most glorious recordings. Since it was recorded in 1970 and not released until 2004, the musicians were still at the peak of their powers and the presence of Wilson himself (though not on the recording) and his spirit is very palpable.

This is but one of the great Sonci Past reissues I’ve been grooving to lately. It seems label head Joey Stec (who some may remember as guitarist for the Millenium) has somehow got a hold of a ton (and I mean lots) of classic ’60’s pop and other cool recordings you just won’t find anywhere else.

Besides the Brain Wilson symphonic tribute are tons of unreleased tracks by Millenium members Sandy Salisbury (vocalist for the band), Lee Mallory, Joey Stec and even full albums of unreleased stuff from the Millenium. Familiar musicians like Randy Meisner from the Eagles and Millenium producer/solo artist Curt Boettcher also have several of their early tracks reissued in album form on this label. There is even a CD from Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora before he joined Bon Jovi and Davey Johnstone’s (from the original Elton John Band in the ’70’s) only solo CD.

In other words, Sonic Past has somehow opened a vault somewhere which has enabled them to present some great pop albums, including tracks of which many have never seen the light of day.
The ones I have been grooving to the most have featured the Millenium and its’ members. For those unfamiliar, the Millenium were a soft pop group who unfortunately did not catch on with the legions of rock fans caught up in the noisier sounds of acid-rock. Now, that is a much more simplified description than the band deserves as the band had some of the best production, arranging, orchestration and songwriting elements as any band at that time but you will have to hear them and decide for that for yourself. Sadly, the band disintegrated after their first CD Begin but, thanks to Sonic Past’s reissues, many heretofore unreleased and unknown tracks have been unearthed and released which have greatly embellished the band’s reputation as being one of the greatest.

Soon, I will review these CD’s one by one on this blog and give you the lowdown on some of the leading lights of this ear including Boettcher, Salisbury and Joey Stec. In the meantime, feel free to check out this label and get immersed in these rich, plush orchestrated pop sounds from the past. If you like bands like Sagittarius (who also were helmed by Boettcher) and The Association you will flip over the Millenium and many of the other great releases on this label. Please go to Sonic Past’s site and check them out.

The Music Nerd Knows…..

“the perfect book for the advanced record collector” (Ear Candy)

One of the great things about collecting rock and roll music is that there is always an undiscovered gem lacking from your collection just waiting for you to discover. This year (2005) celebrates the 30th year that I have been such a music junkie. LOST IN THE GROOVES is a book that celebrates albums that fell through the cracks in the “classics” description. Included are albums that: might have sold well initially but are now pretty much ignored (“McCartney II”), works by artists that were not taken seriously at the time (Herman’s Hermits, etc), obscure artists of merit, and generally lost gems that demand reevaluation.

I had quite a few of the discs mentioned such as: “Muswell Hillbillies”, “No Dice”, “Klaatu”, “L.A. (Light Album)”, “McCartney II”, “Subterranean Jungle”, “Face Dances”, “Pacific Ocean Blue”, “Hillbilly Deluxe” – just to name a few. But, I found many more that I now need to hear! I only take issue with one entry: Pink Floyds’ “The Final Cut”. I bought it when it first came out and 20+ years later still say its crap!

I’ve already given LOST IN THE GROOVES several readings and, armed with a yellow highlighter, have made note of which albums I need to add to my collection. This is the perfect book for the advanced record collector/music fan! (Ronnie, Ear Candy)

Strum & Drum!

Sex Clark 5's Strum & Drum! is a Lost in the Grooves exclusive, with bonus tracks. Click below to sample music or purchase. 

Available CDs: Strum & Drum!, SC5 Rarities, Strum & Drum! + Rarities compilation

Be Sex Clark 5's friend on MySpace – click here! 

Sex Clark 5 Strum & Drum! (Records to Russia, 1987/ Beehive Rebellion, 1996)

Hailing from Huntsville, Alabama—the place where Wernher von Braun traded rocketry know-how for immunity, but perhaps more significantly birthplace of “Eight Miles High”—these lo-fi pop wunderkinder had one of the eighties’ great lost discs in Strum & Drum! Their name is one of the broad strokes forming a sly humored sensibility, this from a group also given to titling a noisy piss-take “Get Back Yoko,” and producing an electronic loop of the phrase “Girls of Somalia,” apparently a 5th dimensional play on the Beach Boys’ celebrations of regional pulchritude. But these are the oddities on a disc that’s 95% ebullient, near-perfect Beatlesque pop, delivered with careless glee all but unheard of in the power pop ghetto. None of singer/guitarist James Butler’s twenty songs clocks in above 2:43, giving them the opportunity to charm without boring. SC5 leaves you wanting more, but with the next unforgettable melody never far away. Take “Detention Girls,” a reductive micro opera with a cheerleader’s chant giving the if-you-blinked-you-missed-it bridge that extra jolt sending the whole marvelous package into sugary hyperdrive. “Modern Fix” is at once daffy and poignant. The powerfully delivered line “Why don’t we take all our gimmicks, put ‘em all in one box/ And trade ‘em for a bag of tube socks?” seems (and is) absurd on its face, but in context it’s the possibly final plea of a lover trying to make a rough love work. “Valerie”’s singsong melody seems somehow backwards, an exquisite medieval meander fused with a sweetness straight out of the McCartney songbook. Lightning-paced “Alai” is blessed with one of those hooks that won’t quit, though what the “alai-lai-lai-lai” the band is on about may never be revealed. Sometimes bassist Joy Johnson sings in the sweet, slightly flat voice of a serious little kid, but mostly Butler leads the show, mouth racing to keep up with the shambling, ecstatic rush of his band. These dizzy, precise little tunes are like musical meringues, each one a brilliant gem of an idea whipped to soft, gooey peaks. Look for the out-of-print 1996 CD reissue that includes the magical early “Neita Grew Up Last Night” EP. (Kim Cooper, from the book Lost in the Grooves)