News and Nuggets: garage rock / Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons / Blue Things / Jynx / Rock-In-Beat Records
*The May 11, 2001 issue of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY (#595) devoted four pages to the sudden re emergence of garage rock. The article, entitled "Crude Awakening" and authored by Tom Sinclair, featured brief quotes from many current garage rock luminaries including Lenny Kaye, John Felice (Real Kids), Jon Weiss (Cavestomp), Leigh Lust (Elektra Records), Miariam Linna (Norton Records), and E-Street Band/SOPRANOS member Steven Van Zandt. Van Zandt's promotion of garage rock has been the catalyst for much of the recent attention, and he's quoted as stating "I've got five months off from the SOPRANOS, and I want to devote it to (promoting garage rock)." Particularly newsworthy about the article is that Moxie Pictures still has "Black Monk Time" - the story of the Monks - in development, and that Johnny Rotten has co-starred in a pilot about a garage band for Warner Brothers! Aside from listing some of the newer garage bands making noise on the scene, the article includes a sidebar headed "Garage Graduates," briefly detailing the garage roots of Bruce Springsteen (along with a very cool photo of the Boss's '60s garage band, the Castiles), Van Morrison, Ron Wood, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, and Jerry Harrison.
*"Michigan Mayhem Volume 2" is now available on CD. It's a very strong release with 29 tracks of solid garage cuts from Michigan. The bands include the Fugitives, Aardvarks, Underdogs, Plagues, Friars Of Youth, Grifs, Lee Vi's, Mixed Emotions, and more. There's brief but somewhat informative liners, a photo disc, and two (unidentified) band snapshots. Unfortunately, there's no label info whatsoever. I scored my copy from Arf Arf at www.arfarfrecords.com
*Rhino Records has released two new Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons CDs. The first, titled "In Season: The Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Anthology," appears to be an expanded two disc set of the group's best known and most popular hits. The second, titled "Off Seasons: Criminally Ignored Sides From Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons,"attempts to disprove the belief that the Seasons were a singles only band. The Rhino web site has this excerpt from Gary Stewart, Rhino's Senior Vice President of A&R, from the CD liner notes: "The truth is The Four Seasons produced far more good songs than could be released on A-sides during their peak years. Most of these tracks are equivalent in quality, and in some cases downright better than, many of the classic Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons songs that graced the charts from the early '60s to the late '70s." Though many garage fans wince at the first note of one of Frankie's falsettos, the band did record many memorable tunes throughout the '60s. If you're not a fan of the band, the "Off Seasons" disc won't change your mind. For those of you that are Seasons' fans, there are some very strong tracks that are cool to listen to - especially "Everybody Knows My Name" and "Beggars Parade." Like Gary Stewart claims, these two easily surpass the band's better known hits "Candy," "Walk Like A Man," and the excruciating "Big Girls Don't Cry."
*Rhino is also preparing for release on July 3rd the LONG awaited Buffalo Springfield box set. From the Rhino web site, "There's something happening here as Atco/Elektra/Rhino readies the release of BOX SET, the first and only comprehensive career retrospective for seminal '60s band Buffalo Springfield. The 4-CD package contains 88 tracks, including familiar recordings as well as 36 demos, remixes, and other previously unreleased material, all spanning Buffalo Springfield's brief but intensely creative existence between 1966 and 1968. The collection includes historical essays by Pete Long and Ken Viola, supplemented by rare photos and memorabilia, vintage newspaper and magazine clippings, a complete discography, and a listing of the band's concert appearances." For more information, check out www.rhinorecords.com
*Rewind Records has recently released--from the master tapes--the Blue Things 1966 RCA album on CD. The release includes six bonus tracks, and detailed liner notes by Jeff Jarema. For more information, check out www.rewindrecords.ws
*Norton Records has recently unleashed a 10" vinyl release by the Jynx. Titled "The Jynx Greatest Hits!", it's "unissued 1965 Memphis garage featuring the very first recordings of Chris Bell (Big Star) and Bill Cunningham (Box Tops) taped by legends Roland Janes and Travis Wammack at Sonic Studios for a local TV dance bash." Check it out at www.nortonrecords.com
*Although Germany's Rock-In-Beat Records (www.rockinbeat.de/index2.htm) primarily focuses on rare '60's beat albums from around the world, they occasionally sneak in some good ol' garage rock from the U.S. Previous releases included CDs by the Gants and Crazy Elephant, and they have planned upcoming releases on J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers and the E-Types for months. Recently announced is a new two-on-one CD of the Baskerville Hounds "Featuring Space Rock Part 2" album coupled with Keith Allison's "In Action" album. It's kind of a strange pairing, and I'd like to see a comprehensive Hounds' retrospective by a U.S label someday (Sundazed, anyone?). Until then, this will help fill the void.
*It's good to know that Craig Moore and Gonn are still playing. The band's next appearance will be at the Festival Beat on June 22 and 23 in Pianello Val Tidone, Piacenza (Italy). And the Electric Prunes are promising an appearance at the VOXfest III celebration on June 16th in Riverside, California.
*WEBSITE WATCH: 1)Finally...there is a good web site now available on Teddy & The Pandas. It's well laid out, features many great photos, and real audio of some tunes including some that were never released. Visit: http://people.ne.mediaone.net/robertwallis/pandas.htm ; 2)The new URL for the excellent web site on Boone County, Iowa garage bands (isn't the Internet wonderful?) is www.boonerock.com - Check it out for some good info and cool photos; 3)The newest issue of Carl Chamber's excellent on-line newsletter is now posted to www.dizzyrambler.com - The cover story is on the Canadian Rogue's, and included are many vintage photos, original newspaper clippings, and soundbites of Rogues' singles. Another '60's band recently added to the site is Winter Haven's The Spades. Be sure to swing by and check this site out - you won't be disappointed.
Special thanks to Ron Carlson and Bob Wallis.
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