The A-Z of Punk

THE ORIGINAL idea behind this A-Z was to try and provide a guide to ‘punk’ as it’s now generally understood, i.e. as much a question of attitude, dress, style, whatever as musical content.

Pretty soon though I was tangled beyond belief — if, for example, it was primarily a question of stance (as in teen arrogance) then it ought to include Brando, James Dean, Eddie Cochran, early Elvis etc. etc. In other words practically anyone presenting a ‘rebel’ stance. So I forgot that one pretty quickly (was Einstein a punk) You could literally go on forever).

Then I thought, OK, let’s restrict it to rock ‘n’ roll for starters, the idea being to begin with the generally accepted genesis of punk-rock, i.e. as being the US reply to the British Invasion by the Beatles, Stones etc. in the mid-60’s. But what about the later border? Should I stop, as most punk purists do, at the start of the psychedelic movement? But then how to deal with the artists labelled with the ‘punk’ label recently, i.e. most of the New York bands and a number of the young London bands who feature a certain proportion of punk material in their acts?

Well, I decided to start at the beginning and work forwards. As it turned out there were just so many people who did most of their work from ’64-’68, that to progress beyond that date, or outwards geographical to England even (and include the Troggs, for example), would have meant leaving out a lot of people whose work has either been forgotten or was never widely known in the first place.

I concluded that there’s been so much written about people like Iggy Stooge, the Groovies and Ramones already, that it would be far more interesting for people (consciously or otherwise) moved by the ‘punk’ element in a lot of contemporary rock to want to delve into its roots.

So basically this is a first rough attempt to single out some of the more important records and recorders in the US between 64-68 who were for the most part initially moved to make their music as a direct result of what was being exported from England.

When things started to get psychedelic around mid-’66, most of the people I’ve written about attempted some kind of compromise, hence there’s lots of crossovers from one genre to the next. By 1968 however, most of the vintage punks were no longer working.

But then three years of recording is in itself quite an achievement, and thus the people who survived their punkish origins — say Rundgren, Ted Nugent, or Bob Seger were the exception rather than the rule.

And that’s as far as it goes really — essentially this is a rough draft that will hopefully make reasonably amusing reading for the average punk-inclined SOUNDS reader.

There’s probably a fair number of ludicrous omissions — not just acts but UK and US catalogue numbers etc. Also there’s probably a few folks out there in Readerland who know a hell of a lot more abut the subject than I do. Izzatyou?

Well listen — me and some of the people who helped out on this piece are currently planning a little booklet on the subject — biographies, complete discographies and so on. So… if anyone can offer additional and/or alternative information, please drop me a line c/o the paper.

Oh, by the way — I’ve just realised what the ‘real’ definition of punk is. It’s rock ‘n’ roll ennit?

But enough of this frivolity. Read on…

A

A stands for a lot of things but in punkdom the name that most readily leaps to the lips is that of the Amboy Dukes, being the first incarnation of Ted Nugent, guitar hero extraordinary, carnivore and current toast of the US of A. Originating in Detroit, the Dukes (named after a famous New York street gang apparently) are said to have gone through some 35 changes of personnel before achieving their first and only national hit with ‘Journey To The Center Of Your Mind’ in mid-’68.

As the title of the record suggests the Dukes had by now ‘progressed’ from pure punkdom into the shady realms of psychedelia. In fact the second half of the album of the same name featuring Andy Solomon (vocals, keyboards), Greg Arama on bass, Steve Farmer (rhythm guitar, vocals), Dave Palmer (drums) and vocalist John Drake alongside the axe-toting ‘Nug’, was a continuous ‘concept’ featuring much ‘mind Blowing’.

An earlier face of Dukedom appears as part of Lenny Kaye’s indispensible Nuggets compilation, to wit the group’s 1967 cover of Them’s ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, an extended work-out featuring whizzo guitaring (including a nod to J. Hendrix) which was apparently even more dynamic when featured as the close of the group’s legendary stage shows.

For the purpose of this particular verbal odyssey the most interesting ‘Dukes albums were Amboy Dukes, the aforementioned Journey… and Migration, all on the Mainstream label in the ‘States. In Britain Amboy Dukes saw the light on Fontana, whilst its two successors appeared on London, singly at first and then as a cheapo double set. They’re still reasonably easy to get a hold of and will probably be re-issued again when Nugent achieves the peak of his now seemingly inevitable ascent to super-stardom.

A is also for anger and arrogance, both sterling qualities when it comes to being a prime punk; also for asshole, which, apart from rhyming with Picasso if your name’s Jonathan Richman, can also be something of an asset — being one that is; having one’s easy.

Also for Allmans, Duane and Gregg who, back in ’66 long before canonisation via the Big Sleep and Cher respectively cut ‘Gotta Get Away’, a tasty morsel revived (until it was deleted recently) on Allman Joys — Early Allman (Dial DL 0598).

B

What has four heads, eight legs, and nine hands? The Barbarians is who. Star of this Boston-originated quartet was drummer Moulty Molten whose left hand was a mechanised claw. Proteges of the US Joy label, the group failed to make much impression with their 1965 debut single ‘Hey Little Bird’ but went on to rectify matters somewhat with the witty ‘Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?’ and ‘What The New Breed Say’, (it was “Hey, hey, hey!”, in case you’re interested). Their real testament however is ‘Moulty’, the tale of how Mr. Molten managed to ‘make it’ despite his disability. A rumour that the ‘Moulty’ single featured musical support by Levon and the Hawks (later The Band) helped to increase its collectability. That the Barbarians were reasonably adept at their instruments despite their alleged nonappearance on ‘Moulty’ is borne out by their brief appearance in Gather No Moss, a vintage rock’n’roll movie featuring, among others, the Stones (with Brian Jones still), Gerry and the Pacemakers and James Brown amongst its ‘galaxy’ of stars.

Other points of interest: in keeping with their name the group wore plain sandals over their bare feet; their single album — a bunch of standards (‘Bo Diddley’, ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, ‘Susy Q’ etc.) plus the ‘Boy…’ and ‘New Breed’ singles — was mainly interesting for the fact that the cover was hilarious and ‘Rising Sun’ was for some reason credited to Rod Argent.

Also, just in case you thought the Sex Pistols were the first people to do a ‘we hate everything’ number, consider the sayings of Moulty back in ’65: “We hate beatniks. We hate hippy people, especially New York hippies who wear John Lennon hats and Benjamin Franklin bird glasses. We hate 14 year-old girls from the Bronx who go to the mod shops and say ‘What can we get that’s English to walk around the Village in today?’ And at eleven they have to take off their John Lennon Hats and go home….”

‘Are You A Boy…’ and ‘Moulty’ were given UK releases but neither caught the imagination of the Great British Public. The Barbarians current whereabouts are unknown.

Ralph (Quiet, shy, good-looking, plays his organ while singing), Ronnie (loud, funny, lazy, plays bass), Peppy (an idol, loveable, 17, drop-out, plays rhythm guitar), Mike (psyched out, warm, friendly, rich, plays lead guitar) and Geoff (blond, beautiful, straight, plays drums) were better known as the Blues Magoos.

The afore-given descriptions of the boys’ various attributes and functions derive from the sleeve notes from their 1966 album Blues Magoos (UK Fontana TL 5402). Discovered on the early New York ‘underground’ club scene, they bopped the US singles charts with ‘(We Ain’t Got) Nothing Yet’ (number 5 in October ’66), and returned briefly in the first half of the following year with ‘Pipe Dream’, ‘There’s A Chance We Can Make It’ and ‘One By One’.

Early psychedelic pioneers (and hence regularly featured on ‘pirate’ deejay John Peel’s early Perfumed Garden broadcasts) via squidgy organ dominated album cuts like the lengthy instrumental break in their version of ‘Tobacco Road’, the Magoos were an obvious influence on the first Pink Floyd lineup. In the States they followed the first album (called Psychedelic Lollipop there) with Electric Comic Book and Basic (all on Mercury), finally splitting up in 1968.

A new Blues Magoos appeared a year later with only vocalist Peppy Thielhelm remaining from the original line-up and cut a couple of Latin-flavoured long-players (Never Going Back To Georgia and Gulf Coast Bound) for US ABC before they too disappeared.

Also with a ‘B’ — the ultra-obscure Bohemian and Vendetta LP on US Mainstream featuring the quintet of the same name who, according to the Paris-based Rock News punk monthly (great illustrations and lay-outs, every English word hideously mis-spelt) did a killer version of ‘Satisfaction’; Bubble Puppy, a quartet on the semi-legendary International Artists label (see ‘T’) whose Hendrix rip-off ‘Hot Smoke And Sassafras’ is a gem — and unfortunately unsurpassed by the remainder of their A Gathering Of Promises album; Brownsville Station, far from being a one-hit pop wonders (actually I really liked ‘Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room’), as a listen to any of their albums — A Night On The Town on Big Tree 2010 (1972) is particularly good — will quickly and pleasingly demonstrate; not forgetting of course the Blues Project, the ensemble, that gave Al Kooper to the world — plus a prime cut of vintage punk in the form of ‘No Time Like The Right Time’ (Verve Folkways 5040).

C

Everybody who writes about Count Five calls them San Jose’s very own Yardbirds — and rightly so, seeing as how 18-year-old Kenn Ellner’s Keith Relf-style vocals were interrupted around every five seconds by equally Relf-like blasts an ze harmonica. Sean Byrne sang too, and played rizzum guitar, Craig ‘Butch’ Atkinson drummed, John ‘Mouse’ Michalski handled the lead, whilst Roy Chaney plunked happily at his Fender bass.

All college kids, fresh-faced and all in their late teens they scored a national hit with their first single, the very Yardbirds ‘Psychotic Reaction’. On the album of the same name they expanded their influences somewhat, throwing in a couple of fair-to-middling Who re-makes (‘My Generation’ and ‘Out In The Street’) amongst the largely J. Byrne-credited originals.

Five further singles followed, all of which failed miserably and the boys retired from showbiz, explaining that stardom must take second place to their education. They were never seen or heard from again.

Another bunch of sweeties who obviously knew the way to San Jose were Chocolate Watch Band; despite their silly name they were employed by Tower Records to the tune of four albums, including the soundtrack for Riot On Sunset Strip (shared with the Standells), allegedly one of the best of the hippie era exploitation movies.

The only track I’ve been able to obtain access to so far is Nuggets (sorry to keep mentioning this — skip forward to ‘N’ for full explanation if you don’t know what I’m talking about) ‘Let’s Talk About Girls’, whose beefy vocals, fine rhythm and guitar work suggest further investigation would be well worthwhile. Makes me fair want to kick myself for having thought for so long they were in the same dulcet bag as Strawberry Alarm Clock (of ‘Incense and Peppermints’ ‘fame’).

‘Liar Liar’ by the Castaways, now there was a record — falsetto (actually it’s nearer to castrato) chorus, rich bass line and spine-tingling organ work plus a totally irresistible hook make for a solid gold evergreen. Bob Folschow, Roy Hensley, Jim Donna and Denny Crawell were sons of Minneapolis; other songs preceded (‘Don’t You Just Know’ on Witch 2648) and followed (‘Goodbye Babe’ — Soma 1438, ‘Just A High’ — Fontana 1615, and ‘Lavender Popcorn — Fontana 1626) ‘Liar Liar’, but none contained its unique magic.

‘Liar Liar’ was most recently issued in Britain on The London-American Legend double in London’s ‘American Dream’ series, but you should hurry if you want one at normal prices as it’s apparently just been deleted.

No way you can leave the third letter of the alphabet without a nod to the six-strong Cryan Shames; they hit big with a re-vibe of the Searchers’ ‘Sugar and Spice’ (Destination 624) in July ’66, then switched to Columbia and scored four more middleweight hits over the next couple of years.

As for Canniball and the Headhunters, their place in history is assured on the strength of their sole US charting via a fine re-make of Chris Kenner’s ‘Land Of A Thousand Dances’ (Rampart 642). That was back in February of ’75 — also I vaguely recall their being an album of the same name, but like the group it seems to have been swallowed up by the Bermuda Triangle that seems to take care of even the greatest of one-hit-wonders.

D

Is for Deadsville — which is just about where this particular portion of the alphabet is at as far as genuine vintage punk’s concerned. Not a bad place for latterday punks however. Like the (New York) Dolls, whose recorded work has been somewhat unfairly dismissed of late. And, considering the fact that both the first album (Mercury 6338 270) and Too Much Too Soon (6338 498) are currently clogging the bargain bins (but not for long) at around the thirty bob mark this could well be most people’s last chance of picking them up at cheapo prices. Why wait until 1980 and pay a tenner when you can sample their uneven but often quite savoury delights tomorrow?

Then of course there’s the Dictators and ‘Go Girl Crazy’. Sure, I know it’s just a bunch of rock critics camping it up for all they’re worth, but it’s still the funniest album of the last twelve months. Handsome Dick Manitoba for President, sez I. And anyhow, any band that plays a Miss Nude World final has to be admired.

I’d love to recommend ‘Dirty Old Man’ by the Electras too; unfortunately it’s part of this updated compilation album called Money Music — The Hits Of Middle America on what’s presumably (or was) a one-shot label name of August Records. Shame that, because it’s a drag not being able to share The Bedlam Four’s ‘Hydrogen Atom’, T. C. Atlantic’s ‘Faces’, and the Calico Wall’s amazingly cruddy/loveable ‘Flight Reaction’ with an eager world.

Still, keep combing those bargain bins, there might just be a copy hidden in that batch of Polka With Big Steve And His Polish Stevedores albums (actually I nearly bought that one, on account of the name and the leather boots on the front cover — imagine my chagrin when I flipped it over to discover it actually was a bunch of polkas).

E

Ee lad, remember t’Electric Prunes? I’ll give you ten to one ‘I had Too Much To Dream Last Night’ and ‘Get Me To The World On Time’ were in Syd Barrett’s record collection by the summer of ’67.

Their home base was Seattle and to start with they were Jim Lowe (vocals, autoharp, rhythm guitar), Ken Williams (lead guitar), Mark Tulin (bass, keyboards), Preston Ritter (drums) and Weasel (rhythm guitar). For the devout their albums were Electric Prunes (Reprise 6348), Underground (6262), Mass In F Minor ( — ), Release Of An Oath (6316) and Just Good Old Rock’n’Roll (6342); for my part I’ll stick with the singles — by the third album the group were well on the way to becoming all-time psychedelic bores, their ‘electronic mass’ anticipating such yawn-masters as Wakeman and Oldfield. Like Godfrey Wynn once said (and I don’t know if he was a punk or not): I pass.

F

If you don’t know what this letter stands for then forget it — you’ll never be a punk.

On record however there’s the Flamin’ Groovies,all of whose records everybody should own (and with Virgin Records recently doing Flamingo and Teenage Head, unquestionably their best, at ridiculously low prices there’s really no excuse at all).

We’ll forgo the complete and utter history of the FG’s this time around as every single fanzine I’ve ever read (with the exception perhaps of only Omaha Rainbow) has done it at least once a year, and speed on to someone less in the public sensory organs of late…

Talkin’ ’bout Bobby Fuller,he of the Bobby Fuller Four is who. A few years later the cruel machinery of fate would find this Texan singer/guitarist dead in his car as a result of exhaust fumes but in the first few months of ’66 he was at the top of the tree.

The reason was two little pieces of vinyl some seven inches in diameter: first ‘I Fought The Law’, a rousing persistent, hand-clapping classic of a rocker that wherever and whenever you heard it meant one thing — instant dancing. The similar but nonetheless highly delightful ‘Love’s Made A Fool Of You’ repeated ‘Laws’s success and that was it as far as the charts and B. Fuller were concerned.

Now I suppose if I were confronted by anyone stupid enough to take a ‘purist’ stance over this whole punk number I’d have to agree that Fuller’s hits owed more to vintage rock’n’roll than the standard ‘American reply to the British Invasion with three chords, a Beatle haircut and a lot of balls’ definition of punk. All the same though, they were great records and for my part I’ll happily play them next to more ‘orthodox’ punk fare.

In point of fact the Four (the others were Dewayne Quirico, Randy Fuller and Jim Reese) made more than a passing bow in the direction of Liverpool on their I Fought The Law album (Mustang MS 901) but, as with the Groovies at the Roundhouse last week, they opt for the gentle, melodic Mersey sound at the expense of their gonads.

G

For starter’s it’s for ‘Gloria’, a punk standard if ever there was one. As the lady’s destined for closer scrutiny later in this ramble however, let’s just mention by way of introduction to our next group that ‘Gloria’ was one of the tracks on Road Runner, the debut LP (Liberty LST 7432) from the Gants. Unfortunately the only Gants album I have to hand is Gants Again and it has one of those irritating liner notes that tells you the quartet on the cover are from Mississippi but neglects to inform you who they are. This could be one of the reasons why the group never became a household word.

Whoever they were they made some interesting music — meaty and beaty as they say and with just a touch of schizophrenia. By which I mean that they don’t seem quite sure if they want to be the Beatles or the Pretty Things. In fact this makes for an interesting if somewhat uneasy combination as they skip from jolly harmonic singalongs, to asbestos-throated mean blues.

There was definitely one other album — Gants Galore (LST-7455), but I have a feeling there was at least one more. Gants Again, for the benefit of matrix freaks, was christened LRP-3475. National US chartwise the Gants appeared only once — this was with the aforementioned ‘Road Runner’ (Liberty 55829), its twelve week run peaking with a 46th placing in Billboard‘s Hot 100 on the 25th of September, 1965.

With the Good Rats we come across the first of the few wop punks — a man after my own heart name of Peppi Marchollo, lead singer and author of the bulk of their material. Again the album sleeve’s next to useless, with no mention of who the other four guys in the band were and with pictures of the record’s two producers (a sinister looking duo who look as if they’d be far happier beating up on Robert Mitchum in a ‘fifties B-movie than sitting at a mixing desk) some ten times larger than those of the group.

The record itself is quite a barrel of wheezes, what with its ‘Sgt. Pepper’ style theme song (‘We Are The Good Rats’) that sounds like a Sly Stone parody of the Monkees signature, the breakneck ‘Joey Ferrari’ and the delightfully-titled ‘My Back Is Achin’ (And My Mind Is No Better)’. It was on Kapp KS-3580.

The group vanished for three or four years (no doubt after an argument with their producers) and then re-emerged a couple of years back with ‘Tasty’ (Warners): a new album Rat City In Blue is just out Stateside. Meanwhile Peppi Marchello is apparently fronting a soul outfit on an All-Platinum subsidiary.

H

Have to admit I’m cheating a little here, but if filing them under ‘punk’ is the only way I’m ever going to see the Hoodoo Rhythm Devils in print, then nothing on earth’s gonna stand in my way.

But hold — I have ample evidence for these chaps’ inclusion herein. The Hoodoos — Joe Crane (vocals), John Rewind (guitar), Dexter C. Plates (bass), Glenn ‘Hambone’ Walters (drums) — cut three albums: Rack Jobbers Rule (Capitol ST-842), Barbecue Of Deville (Blue Thumb BTS42) and What The Kids Want (BTS57) between 1971 and ’73, that were a compelling mixture of country, swamp and the Stones.

Crane’s voice was the real pivot, a ragged, howling thing that makes Joe Cocker sound like Pinky and Perky, while his best songs stand up against any heavy duty punk-rocker you’d care to mention. The band peaked with Barbecue (by coincidence the record that turns up most often in the bargain bins here), simply one of the drivingest, most insistent Long-Players on my shelves.

‘Eating In Kansas City’ is just one of the album’s gems, a rip-roaring tribute to highway trash food taken at a pace that would leave even the Ramones breathless. The third album was flawed but still had its fair share of highspots, not the least of which is a lengthy but extremely worthwhile resurrection of ‘I Fought The Law’.

I

Iggy Stooge I s’pose. Actually I have to make a confession here: I enjoy lots of The Stooges (Elektra EKS 74051) and Fun House (EKS 74071), but when it comes to the ‘classic’ Raw Power (CBS) I find Mr. Stooge/pop over-rated, painful and, yes dammit, just plain boring. Again, as with many of the later ‘punks’ (MC5 are a good example), the Stooges have had more than enough said about them. So we’ll hop along a little, shall we?

J

Well, I know there was a mid-sixties US outfit name of the Jaggerz,but apart from deducing what their major influence was I have to confess they remain beyond the limits of my current

K

Another of those letters that simply isn’t terribly popular for starting group names with (wait’ll we get to ‘S’ for real popularity). Meanwhile I suppose we’ll have to pop across the pond so as to name-drop the good old Kinks. As you probably know already thanks to Ms Charone, Ray and the lads have always been a damn sight more popular in the States than here; consequently they probably influenced as many US punk bands as anyone barring the Beatles and Stones. Had they been Yankees though one would have to place their early recordings (including as they did that other punk staple ‘Louie Louie’) well to the fore of the punk category.

And, speaking of ‘Louie Louie’ we can’t pass on until we’ve at least seen the name of the Kingsmen in print. For was it not they who first bestowed this veritable anthem to all those would-be punkers back in ’63?

The Knickerbockers‘ ‘Lies’ was probably the only Lennon/McCartney imitation John and Paul wished they’d written themselves. The plagiarism is ridiculously obvious of course but it was such a fine song and tremendously energetic performance that there was no way one could dislike it even at the time of original release (April ’65 actually). Did next to nothing in England of course, despite heavy airplay from the pirate stations. In America the group followed ‘Lies’ (Challenge 59321) with ‘One Track Mind’ (59326) and ‘High On Love’ (59332). They were New Yorkers — Bobby Randell, Jimmy Walker, and John and Beau Charles.

Lies album appeared, complete with Beatle look-alike cover photo but it was disappointing. Eventually they split, Walker replacing Bill Medley as the other Righteous Brother. ‘Lies’ (along with most of what you’ve just read) is included on the afore-mentioned London-American Legend double.

L

If the Leaves’ name rings a bell at all in England it’s probably principally as the group who caused Arthur Lee’s combo to change their name to Love. They also had in common that they both recorded ‘Hey Joe’, but it was the Leaves who hit with a single version in May ’66. An album of the same name followed (Mira 3005); I’m playing it now and quite honestly there’s no way I’d place it anywhere near the first Love album as far as density of feeling/playing/expression goes.

Love are another band who’ve had a hell of a lot of coverage in the fan press; suffice it to say that Love (EKS 74001) and the first side of Da Capo (EKL 4005) contain a vast number of delights for anyone who’s still not picked up on them. Older readers might like to dust off their copies and play them again. They should sound as good as new.

Left Banke were, I’ll admit, just a trifle too sophisticated to really fit into the category discussed herein with any degree of comfort. Nevertheless ‘Pretty Ballerina’ and ‘Walk Away Renee’ should not be omitted from the well-stocked mid-60s cupboard.

M

The relentless ‘Talk Talk’ was an apt introduction o to the Music Machine, a heavily rhythmic blend of ‘Louie Louie’ and ‘Gloria’ taken at full steam. A sequel, the similarly forceful ‘The People In Me’ appeared a couple of months later (Jan. ’67) A Talk Talk LP (Original Sound 8875), recorded in LA soon followed.

It turned out rhythm guitarist Sean Bonniwell — who’d written both singles — was quite a competent punk composer, and together with Keith Olsen (bass), Mark Landon (lead guitar), Doug Rhodes (organ) and drummer Ron Edgar, he made some pretty enjoyable music. There was one total bummer in the shape of Neil Diamond’s totally inappropriate ‘Cherry Cherry’ but the album was otherwise well above average; Music Machine were definitely a group to watch.

Trouble is the world must’ve looked away for a second, because all of a sudden — no Music Machine. The singles were on Original Sound 61 and 67 respectively.

‘M’ is also for minor punks, and they were manifold — MagiciansMouse & the TrapsMojo Men, Magic Mushrooms — all featured on Nuggets (plug coming up next).

N

Ah… Nuggets (subtitled: ‘Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era’) put together and superbly annotated by critic Lenny Kaye four years ago (Elektra 7E 2006), and subsequently deleted. Originally intended as a series of some thirty albums spotlighting musical developments in all the major US music centres, the project never got beyond this first album and it too has now been deleted.

Perhaps it was just ahead of its time; certainly much of the current interest in punk (as well as much of the usage and abusage of the word itself) can be traced back to this anthology. Mr. Kaye was eventually to find alternative employment playing guitar for Patti Smith, the punk element (and it is undeniably there) in whose music can be reasonably attributed in the main to LK’s presence.

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia in ’68, having served his apprenticeship with Woody’s Truck Stop, young Todd Rundgren assembled the Nazz — to his contributions (writer, guitarist) he added the voice of Robert ‘Stewkey’ Antoni, Carson Van Osten (bass) and drummer Thorn Mooney. They cut two albums Nazz (SGC 221 001) and Nazz Nazz (SD5002) — a third LP Nazz 3 consisted of out-takes from the second LP and was issued after Rundgren had quit the group — and two singles ‘Hello It’s Me’ and ‘Under The Ice’.

Sartorically and, to an extent musically, they favoured English mod chic. Unfortunately their record company (an especially designed outlet for their publishers, Screen Gems) was totally inadequate whilst bad management ensured that they did a minimal amount of live work. Rundgren quickly became disillusioned and quit, ironically before a reissue of ‘Hello It’s Me’ charted.

Nazz’s music is made more interesting by the Runt’s subsequent adventures in vinyl — the blend of electronic doodling, vicious lead guitar work, gentle melodies and Philly soul harmonies is present in a skeletal form. A lot of it stands pretty well on its own feet however. Long-deleted and much sought after. Rundgren is always talking of possible re-issues. Meanwhile there’s news of a 22-track ‘Best Of…’ bootleg circulating on the continent.

O

Ah, the big ‘O’ — death or nothingness, a total blank; a good place to consider the canny logic of the Ramones mayhap?

P

Pretty Vacant.

Q

? and the Mysterians: ’96 Tears’, vintage punk par excellence, re-release imminent; bedspring organ, plodding rhythm, it seemed like it could go on for ever. ‘Gloria’s natural offspring. A Tex-Mex quintet, Rudy (?) Martinez and his boys apparently recorded this monster themselves for fifty bucks and sold it to the Mexican-owned PA.GO.GO. label.

Needless to say by the time they’d graduated to major label and album status (96 Tears — CAMEO 2002, Action — 2006) they realised there was no way they’d turn up another monster. Consequently the albums are a bit boring — Rudy’s vocals particularly achieving a noisome Mickey Mouse quality after a while — and their seven subsequent singles (including ‘Hey Joe’, of course) failed to hit.

’96 Tears’ could, of course, be a smash all over again; a resurrected Mysterians could be really interesting. Alternatively there’s always Eddie & the Hot Rods’ quicksilver live version.

R

‘Don’t Look Back’ from Boston’s Remains is another Nuggets cut. In retrospect they sound like a prototype for the J. Geils Band — fast, raucous r’n’b. Back in ’66 they supported the Beatles (along with a bunch of others) on their second US tour. ‘Don’t Look Back’ was their fourth and final single; like ‘Why Do I Cry?’ (EPIC 9783), ‘I Can’t Get Away’ (9842) and ‘Diddy Wa Diddy’ (10001) it bombed and the group subsequently split without releasing their planned debut album.

S

This is the big one. Who’s that coming round the corner? No you dummy, not John Wayne… it’s Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs with the classic ‘Wooly Bully’ leading a whole string of (progressively less successful) goodies — ‘Red Hot’, ‘Ju Ju Hand’, ‘Ring Dang Doo’ and ‘Lil’ Red Riding Hood’ among them. A classic first album too (all this on MGM) which I wish I hadn’t sold all those years ago.

Sam re-appeared in the early ’70s under his own name (Domingo Samudio) with an album called Hard and Heavy. It had astrological bullshit on the back and some nine hundred ace sessions cats (including D. Allman). But that didn’t prevent it from being a total stiff. Exit S. Samudio.

The Seeds — Sky Saxon (vocal, bass) Daryl Hooper (keyboards), Jan Savage (guitars), Rick Andridge (drums) are perhaps best remembered for their singles ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ and ‘Pushing Too Hard’ — both featured on The Seeds (GNP 2023 — 1967).

Among the most productive of the punk outfits, the group’s lazy, sluggish sound and Sky’s mumbledrawl vocals date surprisingly well. They lasted until 1969, adding A Web Of Sound (2033), Future (2038), A Spoonful Of Seedy Blues (2040) and Raw And Alive (2043) to their album catalogue before finally succumbing to an excess of Flower Power. The early Captain Beefheart recordings are just one example of the Seeds’ influence.

‘Gloria’ finally got her just deserts at the hands of Shadows Of Night early in ’66. Their Gloria album (Dunwich 666) revealed their youth in its post-adolescent vocals from Jim Sohns (19), but the music produced by Warren Rogers (lead), Jerry McGeorge (rhythm), Joey Kelly (bass), and Tom Sciffour (drums) had, beneath its likeable sloppiness, a genuinely vibrant energy. Three further 45s that year — ‘Oh Yeah’ (Dunwich 122), ‘Bad Little Woman’ (128), ‘I’m Gonna Make You Mine’ (141) — none of which equalled ‘Gloria’s success. They had another medium hit two years later with ‘Shake’ (Team 520). After that they presumably grew up and got decent jobs.

The Sheep and the Strangeloves were one and the same; a writing/production team consisting of Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer. Their demonically rhythmic 45s were perfect for the then current transistor and earphones vogue. Accordingly they scored with ‘I Want Candy’, ‘Cara Lin’ and ‘Night Time’ (as the Strangeloves) and with ‘Hide and Seek’ under the ‘Sheep’ banner. According to Goldstein — he now co-manages War, as well as writing and producing with them — they did a lot of live work; they obviously had too many other commitments to need/want to make a career of performing.

And at the opposite end of the scale were the Standells — Dick Dodd (drums), Tony Valentino (guitar), Gary Lane (bass), Larry Tamblyn (organ) — they worked long and hard, making their name (in suits and slicked-back haircuts) at PJs in Hollywood and gradually (via lengthening hair and ‘mod’ clothes) spread to the rock/youth market. Also they ditched a lot of their early soul material in favour of items like — you got it — ‘My Little Red Book’ and ‘Paint It Black’.

They also came up with a bunch of excellent originals, ‘Dirty Water’, ‘Try It’, and the superb ‘Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White’ (currently in the Count Bishops’ repertoire) eventually becoming classics of their kind. The showbiz veneer remained though, allowing bloomers like Valentino’s ‘Mi Hai Fatto Innamorare’, a superschlocky Italian love song, to take the edge off otherwise remarkably consistent albums.

Also worthy: Syndicate Of Sound for the great ‘Little Girl’ single (but no way the ultra-dull album of the same name); Somon Stokes and the Black Whip Thrill Band, the ’72 New York Sidewinders LP (producer L. Kaye); Sir Douglas Quintet for ‘She’s About A Mover’ and everything else he ever recorded even if it wasn’t ‘punk’; Bob Seger, for spending the last decade preparing for this one; Sonics, Sidewinders

T

Say no more: Thirteenth Floor Elevators,Texan madness on the International Artist label, late ’66 onwards. Currently like gold dust on the collectors’ market: ‘Easter Everywhere’, ‘The Psychedelic Sound Of ‘Live’, and ‘Bull Of The Woods’. Punk meets acid in Roky Erikson, Elevators main-man; busted for marijuana and committed to an insane asylum, later released and currently back at work with Blieb Alien; apparently recorded by Doug Sahm late last year but still unheard this side of the pond. A must for early Beefheart freaks and others of lunatick disposition. More later.

U

No thanks, I’ve had enough.

V

I was going to keep Lou Reed well out of this only I hear illicit recordings of pre-Velvets material like the legendary ‘Ostrich’ single are about to surface. Keep ’em peeled.

And, speaking of Lou reminds me of the Vagrants — New York band featuring guitarist Leslie Weinstein (he’d later opt for fame under the slimline surname of West) — the intro to their ‘Respect’ remarkably similar to one of Louis’ more famous tunes. Was it just a tribute or did Lou steal the riff from Vagrants? This one too’s on Nuggets (which really should be re-issued, even at a cheap price as there were no major expenses involved in making it in first place. Howzaboutit WEA?).

W

ell. I guess you’ll just have to e….

X

cuse my hurry. But I’m just about read…

Y

for a long line of…

Z

ZZZZZZZZZZZs

Indispensible Assistance/Records etc. gratefully received from:
Roger Armstrong, Ted Carroll, Frank Inzani, Dan O ‘Grady.
Sources/Further Reading: Who Put The Bomp, Nuggets’ liner notes (liberally stolen from), Rock News, Paris; Punk, New York.

© Giovanni DadomoSounds, 17 July 1976

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