The Spirit Of 67
Unless you've been hibernating in a cave, you're probably aware the media has been making a big fuss over the fortieth anniversary of the Summer of Love. As expected, icons like The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, The Yardbirds, Buffalo Springfield, Cream, The Byrds and The Jimi Hendrix Experience are mentioned time and time again when writers and reporters comment on that revolutionary year. Well, here's a list of twenty albums (in alphabetical order) released in 1967 that I personally cherish and feel have all too often been forgotten in favor of bands that were deemed hipper or sold more records. So tune in, turn on and drop in for some sounds that have been going in and out of style but are always guaranteed to raise a smile...
The Amboy Dukes The Amboy Dukes (Mainstream)
The Baroques The Baroques (Chess)
The Blues Magoos Electric Comic Book (Mercury)
The Chocolate Watchband No Way Out (Tower)
The Easybeats Friday On My Mind (United Artists)
The Electric Prunes Underground (Reprise)
The Grass Roots Let's Live For Today (Dunhill)
The Hollies Evolution (Parlophone)
The Id The Inner Sounds Of The Id (RCA)
Tommy James and The Shondells I Think We're Alone Now " (Roulette)
The Jelly Bean Bandits The Jelly Bean Bandits (Mainstream)
The Leaves All The Good That's Happening (Capitol)
The Litter Distortions (Warwick)
The Monkees Headquarters (Colgems)
The New Colony Six Colonization (Sentar)
Paul Revere and The Raiders Revolution (Columbia)
The Standells Try It (Tower)
The Strawberry Alarm Clock Incense and Peppermints (Uni)
The Tremeloes Here Comes My Baby (Epic)
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band Part One (Reprise)
Memories Of The Vinyl Vault
From the summer of 1984 to late 1987, I spent an awful lot of time and money at The Vinyl Vault, a record store on Polk Street in San Francisco. The shop, which was run by a scraggly blonde-haired guy named Zari, who bore a bit of a resemblance to James Hetfield of Metallica, was stocked to the ceiling with super rare sixties and seventies albums. The digital age was still in its infancy at the time, and I don't remember ever seeing a single compact disc on the shelves.
At least twice a month I would embark on a voyage to The Vinyl Vault, where I happily forked over my hard earned George Washingtons, Abraham Lincolns, Andrew Jacksons and Benjamin Franklins for ancient pieces of plastic. And the prices were unbelievably reasonable. Not once did I depart the premises disappointed or empty handed. For instance, I recall scoring albums by The Gants, The Blues Magoos, The Tremeloes, The Five Americans, The Dave Clark Five, Every Mother's Son, Los Bravos, The Human Beinz, The Troggs, The Gentrys, The Seeds, The McCoys, Ohio Express, Herman's Hermits, Sugarloaf, Amboy Dukes, Iron Butterfly, Tommy James and The Shondells, Gary Lewis and The Playboys, Dino, Desi and Billy, The Grass Roots, Donovan, The Cyrkle, Jay and The Techniques and The Animals for a mere two or three dollars each.
As far as obscure items went, I picked up Druids Of Stonehenge, Magic Lanterns, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Stained Glass, Friar Tuck and His Psychedelic Guitar, Trolls, Blue Mountain Eagle, SRC, Yellow Payges, Frost, Crazy Elephant, Jelly Bean Bandits, Twentieth Century Zoo, Help, Spats, You Know Who Group, Projection Company, Gun, Id, Teddy and The Pandas, Cykle, Magi, Hobbits, Third Rail, Litter, Terry Brooks and Strange, Giant Crab, Ugly Ducklings, Paupers, Fallen Angels, Yellow Balloon, Pretty Things and T. Swift and The Electric Bag albums for five or ten dollars. And the list goes on and on and on.
The Vinyl Vault also offered a mammoth selection of reissues. Considering it was almost impossible to find original works by Faine Jade, The Blue Things, Velvet Fogg, The Rockin' Ramrods, Hunger, The Rising Storm, The Moving Sidewalks, The Birdwatchers, The Haunted, The Remains, Mouse and The Traps, The Nightcrawlers, The Chocolate Watchband, Kenny and The Kasuals and The Open Mind, these packages were absolute revelations. There were plenty of psychedelic and garage rock compilation albums to pick from too. Pebbles, Highs In The Mid-Sixties, Texas Flashbacks, Off The Wall, Skeletons In The Closet, Journey To Tyme, Sounds Of The Sixties (San Francisco), Psychedelic Unknowns, The Chosen Few, Endless Journey and those "Nuggets" sets released by the Rhino label introduced many of us to the weird and wild racket of overlooked and underrated geniuses.
One day, while thumbing through the racks at The Vinyl Solution, I was approached by an elderly man around eighty years old. I kid you not. He was tall and dressed in his Sunday best. He looked intently at the sweatshirt I was wearing, which sported a picture of The Beatles and asked, "Isn't that the group that sang that song from The Bible that goes turn, turn, turn, a time for every season, turn, turn, turn, a time for every purpose under heaven, turn turn turn?" Before I had a chance to reply, he informed me that Jesus loves me, then walked quickly away, whistling the tune he inquired about. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was The Byrds that recorded "Turn Turn Turn," not The Beatles...
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