News and Nuggets: Music Machine / Arf Arf Records / Gear Fab Records / Rhino Handmade / ROIR ...
*Sean Bonniwell of the Music Machine recently posted some very interesting information to the Garage66 list: "Back in the days when the Music Machine was rehearsing in my garage (1965-1966), when my single focus was material for the band, I owned a Sony reel-to-reel two track, which served my song writing well as I could overdub and 'bounce' until the basic tracks were buried in Neptune. I recorded most of the songs at 1 and 7/8 speed to save tape, regrettable because it's taken me years to find a reel-to-reel relic that plays at that speed-- and I have boxes of tapes with these never heard songs clinging desperately to ancient acytone (SP?). The long and short of it is, these are songs written for the Machine that we never recorded--all in all about 40 (that I've found so far) worthy of arranging in the style the band is known for. I've considered throwing the whole bundle (in its raw guitar and vocals glory?) on a CD and calling it 'Domestic Concoctions' ... or maybe 'Virtual Garage'... as all of these songs were recorded on that Sony in my garage in San Pedro, California. When I told Ron Edgar about the tunes he said something like, 'Hey, why don't we record a new album before one of us falls like a bad tree?' So that's the story. We don't have a label, we don't have the money to record, and we don't have a band, but since that didn't stop us in the '60s, I don't see why it should stop us now. Meanwhile, if I should fall like a tree, perhaps somebody should get to this garage and rescue what Rudi Protrudi so kindly refers to as 'found lost treasure.' I don't know if it's 'treasure' or not, but it's definitely garage." Sean later emailed me some additional information regarding the Music Machine's involvement: "These really can't be regarded as Music Machine demos because it's just me on guitar and vocals. The quality of the sound is questionable at best, fact is, some of these demo recordings are distorted (recorded too hot) while others suffer from too much ping-ponging and are distant." Regardless, hopefully the songs will see the light of day later this year.
*Ron Hall is currently putting the finishing touches on a project that will provide a nice documentation of the 1960's Memphis garage band scene. The project will include a CD compiling the best of the scene's bands (non-major label acts only including Danny Burk & The Invaders, The Castels, Rapscallions, the Jades, Changin' Tymes, Flash & The Casuals, Joe Frank & the Knights, Jimmy Tarbutton, YoYo's, Escapades, the Rapids, the Village Sound, the LeSabres, the Coachmen, Shadden & the King Lears), as well as a book that will tell the story of 115 of the area's frat/garage bands. According to Ron, "I am working with Sherman Willmott of Shangri-La Records on the publishing and production of the book and CD. Sherman is the curator of the new Stax museum. (We'll) include every band that cut at least one 45 here from 1960-75. Everyone from the Gentrys, Boxtops, Sam the Sham to one hit wonders that came from East Arkansas, North Mississippi, and West Tennessee to cut their record, get 500 pressed and go back home." Target release date is June 1st. The Lance Monthly will provide additional information - including ordering instructions - as it becomes available.
*Arf Arf Records (http://www.arfarfrecords.com) is celebrating it's 20th Anniversary with a 50 song 2-CD Sampler. According to the web site, the "sampler is more of a parallel universe, as it serves up alternates, demos and outtakes from artists whose works have been emblazoned with the twin Arf! Arf! dogs, the twin birds of its budget line Cheep! Cheep! subsidiary, or the dignified font of its new music spin-off, sfz. It is not, however, the bottom of the barrel. It's simply the stuff that, for one reason or another, didn't quite make it onto one of the imprint's many fine releases." Some of the bands represented include the Lost, Bourbons, Flowerz, Electras, the Litter, and the Males.
*In early April, Buddha Records (http://www.buddharecords.com)released "Best Of" CDs by the '60's three best bubblegum bands: The Ohio Express, The 1910 Fruitgum Company, and the Lemon Pipers. All three CDs are titled after the band's best known songs ("Yummy, Yummy Yummy", "Simon Says", and "Green Tambourine" respectively). The CDs include detailed liner notes, as well as "rare" photos and album tracks.
*It's been quite a while since Varese Vintage released anything that would appeal to readers of this column, but this month they'll be releasing "The Best Of Orpheus," "The Best Of Ultimate Spinach," "The Best Of The Bosstown Sound," and a CD of demos by P.F. Sloan. Hopefully by the time you read this, their web site will be updated to include these releases: http://www.varesesarabande.com
*Del-Fi Records has just released "I Fought The Law: The Best Of The Bobby Fuller Four" on CD. According to the web site, "the Texas Rock & Rollers are back with a Greatest Hits package . . . This CD features the Mustang Singles or Alternate LP tracks that were not on our 'Never To Be Forgotten' Box Set." Visit http://www.delfi.com - The newly redesigned web site is still also promising the long ago announced biography of Head Honcho, Bob Keane, "The Oracle Of Del-Fi."
*Gear Fab Records (http://www.swiftsite.com/gearfab)has just released the "Psychedelic States: Florida In The 60's Volume 2" CD, and promises Volume 3 in July. Bands scheduled to appear on the third volume are the Montells, The Rovin' Flames, Noah's Ark, The Jester IV, Painted Faces, The Clef's of Lavender Hill, The Tasmanians, The Generation Gap, The Group, The Dalton Gang, The Hungri I's, The Minority, The Rare Breed, Dr. T. & The Undertakers, The Shades, The Cosmic Camel, The Dark Horsemen, The Feudal Lords, The Echoes, and The Burlington Squires. Gear Fab is also promising, in June, the release of a super rare 1966 garage band album by the Soundsations. Titled "Shout," the album was recorded by a Michigan teen band, and featured the vocals of a Patty Stevens. The band's rare Fenton single will also be included. Also planned is a CD of Louisville's Oxfords' 1970 album, "Flying Up Through The Sky" plus band demos from 1968, and the 1967 T Swift & The Electric Bag "Are You Experienced" album on CD.
*Rhino Handmade will be releasing the Masked Marauders album to CD in May. Subtitled "The Complete Diety Recordings" (all eleven of them), the release will mark the first time the album has been in print since it's original release. Originally conceived to capitalize on the rumor that Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan had formed a band in the late '60's, the "Fuzz, Acid, & Flowers" web site states that the group was most likely comprised of members of the Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band. Visit http://www.rhinohandmade.com
*For the sake of completeness, I'll mention that Wounded Bird Records is releasing "The Happenings: Greatest Golden Hits" to CD this month. If you're interested, check out http://www.woundedbird.com
*Upcoming DVD releases include Tom Hank's excellent garage band movie, "That Thing You Do" later this month; two volumes of "Monkees" episodes, also this month; and the second series of "Hullaballo" and "Music Scene" shows from MPI Home Video. The "Hullabaloo" disc will contain appearances by the Kingsmen, Lovin' Spoonful, We Five, and the Outsiders. Finally, early next month, "Village Of The Giants", with the Beau Brummels, and "Beach Blanet Bingo" will be released by MGM.
*New and upcoming vinyl only releases from Misty Lane Records from Italy include "Badger Beat Chronicles" a compilation of 1965-1968 Wisconsin garage punk bands; "Bring Flowers To U.S.," a compilation of 1967-1972 U.S. "popsyche" bands; an EP of the Gallows, a garage punk band from Illinois from 1966; and EP of the E-Types, on the Teen Sound Label; and a 10" mini LP of the Dovers, complete with interviews with the band members, photos, and more. Some great stuff!
*ROIR, in conjunction with Cavestomp, has released a CD entitled the "Chocolate Watchband: At The Love-In-Live!" The CD features new recordings of the band at last years Cavestomp performance, and includes live video performances of the Watchband performing "Sittin' There Standin'," "It's All Over Now Baby Blue," and "Let's Talk About Girls." Also included is an interview with frontman David Aguilar. Liner notes were penned by Alec Palao. It's a very impressive package, with great new and vintage photos of the band throughout. And the Watchband prove why they're legends. It's a really stong performance, and the band again let's loose with the definitive version of Dylan's "It's All Over Now Baby Blue." There are also great new renditions of favorites "Are You Gonna Be There," "Misty Lane" and, as an almost dedication to Ed Cobb, "She Weaves A Tender Trap." HIGHLY recommended. For more info, visit http://www.roir-usa.com
*Jimy Rogers & The Mauds, the '60's garage-soul band from Chicago, are nearing completion of their new promotional CD. Check out the band's web site at http://www.themauds.com
*Those interested in the tough to locate film "Hot Rods To Hell", featuring the Mickey Rooney Combo, should check out http://www.hotrodstohell.com - It's an official site maintained by the legal owner of the film, Phil Stafford. It's currently available on VHS only, but a DVD release is in the planning stages.
*A new book that may be of interest to some is "The Austin Music Scene Through The Lens Of Burton Wilson, 1965 To 1994." The book includes photos of Tommy Hall (13th Floor Elevators), The Conqueroo, Powell St. John and Mother Earth, Shiva's Headband, The Fugs, Danny Galindo and The New Atlantis, and more. For more information, check out: http://www.eakinpress.com
*Other new books, all part of the California Music Series, detail biographies and music studies of the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Gary Usher, '60's beach movies, Kim Fowley, P.F. Sloan, and more. For better descriptions and more information, visit: geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Studio/8242/cmusic.html
*Beware of the following news item that's been rapidly circulating: Apparently, it's an April Fool's Day "joke." "According to Record Collector (April 2001, No. 260, Page 12), A remarkable cache of priceless videos featuring a long-lost U.S. '60's TV show has been uncovered in a vault in Southern California. The find contains 18 complete episodes of the cult West Coast pop show, 'The Kandy Klub,' and features never-repeated footage of luminaries such as Love, the Electric Prunes, the Standells, the Seeds, the Chocolate Watch Band, and the Left Banke . . . "The Kandy Klub" tapes were found by U.S. computer programmer Chuck Blair while clearing out offices within the defunct station, KPER, at Hilcrest, California. Blair's business associate, veteran local broadcaster Larry 'Salsa' Dean, spooled through the tapes and identified the find as the majority of the show's 26-week run, broadcast between January and June 1967 . . .With no logging details on the original boxes and no existing station files, it's hard to establish just what else was screened on "The Kandy Klub." What we do have to look forward to is a 6-video/4-DVD set, which will come complete with a hefty booklet written by Dean, and period packaging including a Cherry Suite (host) poster and key-fob bearing the show's K-shaped candy bar logo." Rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is too good to be true.
WEB SITE WATCH: Here's a cool site devoted to Boone County, Iowa garage bands from the '60's and beyond: http://www.willinet.net/~thx1136/garage/intro.html. There's a ton of good info on the bands, and some cool photos. Here's a link that might prove useful to researchers looking for label info: www.jbpco.freeuk.com/USAList/USAListind.html
Many thanks to Sean Bonniwell, Ron Hall, ROIR Records, and Phil Stafford for their contributions to this column.
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