Garage rocker Sky Saxon dies -1 reply

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jumjum

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11th April 2005

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#1 9 years ago

Last week I noticed that Sky Saxon, the lead singer of the 60's garage band "The Seeds" died at the age of 71 (he was a littler older than most of the guys in those bands at the time). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/27/arts/music/27saxon.html?_r=1

The Seeds were pretty much a one- or two-hit wonder with the songs "Pushin' Too Hard", and "Can't Seem To Make You Mine. They were representative of the other semi-pro garage bands who had their heyday from about 1965-69 on AM Top-40 radio stations. The music was three-chords-and-bad-attitude, with a hard, rough and dirty edge to it. Some of the well known garage rock songs were "96 Tears", "Dirty Water" "Psychotic Reaction", "Wild Thing", "Talk Talk" and so on. I actually liked garage rock. It's been called "proto-punk", and I can see that.

Here's a clip of The Seeds badly lip synching it on an episode of some terrible 60's sitcom called "The Mothers-In-Law". It's a wonderful example of just how cheesy it could get when 60's sitcoms tried to be hip and get The Kids to watch by putting on a"gassy" group to do an embarrassing lip synch: "Pushin Too Hard". Sky even looked like a Ramone before the Ramones got out of Rock 'n Roll High School. And check out the thrown-down tambourine - what raw emotion!

And here's "Can't Seem To make You Mine", from an American Bandstand episode. This song at least was covered by Garbage a few years ago."Can't Seem To Make You Mine".




Wooly_Bully

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#2 9 years ago

'we think it's gassy'

:rofl:

Man 'pushin too hard' sounds really familiar to me but for the love of Jebus I can't member where I heard it.

A few years ago I got real into 60s rock and used to search around on...actually better not name the program. I'm sure that's where I first heard the song.

In the mean time, how about some Blues Magoos?




jumjum

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#3 9 years ago

(Ah, Wooly, you posted in the three hours I was compiling this monstrosity. But I reference not only the BMs (!) but your namesake as well!)

Nothing like an old fart reminiscing.

I started thinking about garage bands and now I feel another jumjum Megapost Of Mid-to-Late 20th-century American Cultural History coming on! I was a mere sprout and usually too young to participate in most of the cool teen things I saw going on around me in the mid-to-late 60's. As far as music goes, if I had to pick a single 5-year period as my favorite, it would have to be 1965-70, hands down, no contest (okay, that's 6 years, but let's not get techie, okay?) Culturally that time was simply horrible - a steaming pile of fresh horseshit, with nationwide bitterness, animosity, hatred and violence unmatched in the 20th-century.* But musically it was magic, at least for me.

The garage bands were literally that - a local neighborhood group that had gotten together in high school and learned how to play in one of their garages. They were definitely influenced by the post-Beatles British Invasion of groups like the Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals, Yardbirds and The Who. By 1965 they started to get a little bit gritty as folks began experimenting with their guitar sounds. Their music got "nasty" and hard-edged. These groups usually kicked around a few years playing local sock hops and the like until they got lucky with one record. Many got the one-shot rocket trip that you see in the movie That Thing You Do! The big year for garage rock was 1966, and afterwards it begin moving off to hard rock or psychedelia from there. Ultimately it became punk.

Garage band music was tied up not only with AM radio but with the phenomenon of the afternoon "teen music shows" that almost every sizeable US city had in the early to mid-60's. They were usually 30-minute or 1-hour TV shows which featured a bunch of local kids dancing to the latest rock records.** The shows were spiced up with live visits by one or two groups lip-synching their latest hits. (It was a few years before I started thinking about how it was cordless and amp-less guitars could play.) The great-granddaddy of these shows of course was American Bandstand with the spookily ageless Dick Clark

Spoiler: Show
dick-clark1960b.jpg 1960 vs 2003 inside-dick-clark-abc.jpg

, who started his show as a daily in Philadelphia (props to stylie) in the late 50's. He took Bandstand nationwide as a Saturday show sometime in the early 60's where it lasted for over 25 tears years.

There were even primetime pop music dance-and-music shows like Shindig on ABC and Hullabaloo on NBC. The show made mini-stars out of some of their dancers, and used the same format of showing the show's dancers, as well as whatever kids were lucky enough to be picked to be in the audience, all dancing to records as well as to live appearances by groups lip-synching their current hits. Then around 1966 Dick Clark brought Where The Action Is to ABC as a daily nationwide afternoon show. The show would travel around the world (supposedly - I don't know if they really went) to find "where the action is", appearing one week in England, one week in Japan and so on. His show was so powerful he made honest-to-god pop stars out of the house band, "Paul Revere and The Raiders", who had a string of legit Top-10 hits from 65-70.

But the garage bands were the ones who got it started. Here are some of the songs which exemplify the genre.

"Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen, 1963: YouTube - Kingsmen - Louie Louie This is The Source, from which all garage rock flows. They took a calypso song about a guy missing his girl across the sea and through slurred lyrics and a curled lip turned it into the ultimate nasty song for an entire generation...heck, two or three generations. It's irresistible and I defy you not to get caught by it's simple hook.

"Hey Little Bird" by The Barbarians, 1964: YouTube - The Barbarians - Hey Little Bird The Great Lost Garage Band***, the Barbs never got the national attention they deserved. They were from around Boston (and you can hear that dirty River Charles it in songs like the great cult hit "Moulty", about how the drummer lost his hand but kept on a-beatin' those skins: YouTube - The Barbarians - Moulty). Their greatest hit was "Are You A Boy or Are You A Girl" which takes digs at the long-haired British invaders: YouTube - the barbarians - are you a boy or are you a girl

"Liar Liar" by The Castaways, 1965: YouTube - The Castaways "Liar, Liar" This appears to be from some local kid's show, I just don't know where. Check the heifer show dancer in the upper right of the stage. And you thought Hairspray was just a movie....

"Lies" by The Kickerbockers, 1965: YouTube - Lies - The Knickerbockers Damn, there as a lot of singing about lyin', cheatin beeyotches in these songs. And you see the alienation angle in songs like "Pushin' Too Hard" and "Talk Talk". Punk rock, who's your daddy?

"Hanky Panky" by The Shondells, 1965 (could have been early '66): YouTube - Tommy James & The Shondells - Hanky Panky Talk about 3-chords! But the song's subject was juuuuuust right. This group was definitely not a one-hitter, and soon became "Tommy James and the Shondells" with big hits like "I Think We're Alone Now", "Mony Mony", "Crystal Blue Persuasion", "Crimson and Clover", etc.

"Diddy Wah Diddy" by The Remains, 1966 ( I think, could be '65 because they're mostly clean cut here): YouTube - Remains on TV This venerable old cover of a Willie Dixon song has been done by everybody from The Stones to Springsteen. This version I vote for as Best Lip-Synch Ever By Lead SInger. Another Boston group, they played to a sold-out Fenway Park, but somehow never made it nationally, and somehow disappeared.

"Talk Talk" by Music Machine, 1966: YouTube - Music Machine-Talk Talk (Snarling Punk) (+4) Check out the single black gloves, black outfits, medallions and proto-Dee Dee Ramone hairdos!! And dig that cool badass attitude, daddio. And all done in under 2:00. You can see punk coming in this song.

"Gloria" by The Shadows of Knight, 1966: YouTube - The Shadows of Knight - Gloria Okay, it's a cover of the 1964 version by Them with Van Morrison, which is the superior version, no doubt. But it played in the US, and we listened.

"Dirty Water" by The Standells, 1966: YouTube - The Standells - Dirty Water One of rock's greatest guitar lines, it was the first tune thousands of kids learned to play. Who knew a polluted urban river could sound so cool and good-nasty?

"96 Tears" by ? and The Mysterians, 1966: YouTube - ? mark and the mysterians "Three chords? We don't need no steenkeeng three chords!" A two-chord rock song, and the first number 1 hit by Mexican-Americans since Richie Valenz.

"Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love), The Swinging Medallions, 1966: YouTube - Swingin' Medallions - Double Shot - 45 rpm Sorry no performance vids, but this song was a staple of frat parties for, well, it still is today. The neat thing is these guys sneaked an outright sex-me-up song into Top-40 radio in freakin' 1966. What everybody thought "Louie Louie" was, "Double Shot" is! Only a few parents caught on what they meant by "a double of shot my baby's love". Nevertheless the record company pressed a "cleaned up" version which really didn't change a whole lot. The kids still knew the Medallions had double-tapped that girl's stuff and came back wanting more: YouTube - The Swingin' Medallions - Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love) LP 1966

"Psychotic Reaction" by the Count Five, 1966: YouTube - The Count Five- psychotic reaction You see the drug/psychedelic influence creeping in. Simple great harmonica part.

"We Ain't Got Nothing Yet" by The Blues Magoos, 1967: YouTube - Blues MaGoos-We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet (NYC) (+4) Near the end of the era as garage begins edging to psychedelia around 1967-68. Even in 1966 the split was beginning with groups like The Electric Prunes doing "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" using feedback and reverse playback guitar lines.

Honorable Mention - These songs don't quite make it into true garage rock for one reason or another, but they're still pretty close.

"She's About A Mover" by The Sir Douglas Quintet, 1965: YouTube - Sir Douglas Quintet - She's About A Mover This is the late Doug Sahm, who has mythic status in Texas. This song has garage tinges, but also a distinct Tex-Mex flavor and beat.

"Wooly Bully" by Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs, 1965: YouTube - SAM THE SHAM AND THE PHARAOS More a comedy/variety act, but still with that rough edge. Followed up by "Little Red Riding Hood". This is neat because at least the vocal is live, and Sam's voice is so shot from touring his voice breaks badly at 2:00. Another Tex-Mex front man, Domingo "Sam" Samudio from Dallas.

"(Monday I Have) Friday On My Mind", by The Easybeats, 1966: YouTube - EasyBeats - Friday on my mind An Australian group, and this song is a little too produced to be truly garage rock, but damn, you can't beat that infectious enthusiasm.

"Wild Thing" by The Troggs, 1966: YouTube - The Troggs - Wild Thing A British group who later went sort of hippy ("Love Is All Around"). their song would lead the list if they were an American garage group, but they obviously had real management....and talent.

"Stroll On" (actually the venerable "Train Kept A Rollin'" but they dicked with the lyrics some) by The Yardbirds, with the very rare Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page lineup, from the movie Blow Up, 1966: YouTube - Blow-up - Antonioni (Yardbirds Scene) English and much more than a mere garage band, the 'Birds were world-class musicians. But with the attitude, the sound, the fuzz, the feedback, these boys definitely inspired many a garage band.

"Steppin' Out" by Paul Revere and The Raiders, 1965, was definitely garage in sound and sensibility (that cheatin' girl again), it just didn't come from a true garage group: YouTube - Steppin' Out Paul Revere & The Raiders "Kicks" and "Hungry" by Paul Revere and The Raiders with Mark Lindsay, 1966 are a even little less garage-y: Kicks - YouTube - Paul Revere and The Raiders - Kicks, and Hungry - YouTube - Paul Revere and the Raiders - Hungry. In their hit days PVR, a Boise, Idaho group, was fronted by the eventually-more-famous Mark Lindsay. They were too produced to be a garage band, but you can hear the influence. As the house band for "Where The Action Is", the supporting players changed, and many different studio musicians played on their records. But they had a familiar sound, if a little more "snappy" (to quote TomHanks' character in That Thing You Do!) and poppy than true garage music. But they played next to the garage. Here's "Good Thing" from 1967 - 14-year-old girls got funny feelings in their tummies and got all sticky when they heard Mark Lindsay do those little sighing/moaning/groaning/sucking noises: YouTube - Good Thing- Paul Revere & The Raiders- 1967.

NOT garage rock is "Bring A Little Lovin' " by Los Bravos, 1966: YouTube - LOS BRAVOS - BRING A LITTLE LOVIN Oh, what could have been. The tune was there, it rocks, but it suffers from sweetness and over-production. Fuzz it up, muscle it up, and just maybe the garage sound could have won out. But no. And the band, God help their humiliated souls, must have suffered from over-management. How else to explain those gay puffy-sleeve shirts? jumjum tidbit: I always thought he was singing about "bring a little onion" (lovin') and I couldn't figure it the hell out.

Okay, I've beat it to death. As usual.

* I laugh at the limp, handwringing, weepy, feel-bad think pieces I read from time to time today about all this supposed unprecedented bitter partisan divide we're in, blah blah blah. Please. Blow it out your short-sighted history-deficient ass, because you have no idea what you're talking about. This is just politics as it is played; no more. no less, and not particularly nasty (just unprecedentedly unilateral and arbitrary in the reign of Obama the First). The 60's? Which was really like 1964-1974, now that was partisan division. When something like two dozen major US cities have race- or political riots; with entire blocks of buildings burning to the ground, dozens killed; government installations seized, government officials murdered and government buildings bombed; and violent revolution seriously and openly incited, now that's real political animosity. And until we get that kind of almost-outright warfare in the 21st century, STFU for an ignorant ass, because you have no idea.

** In many cities no R&B or soul was played on the shows until the mid-60's though, since that music was considered so sexually provocative that it was feared teenagers were powerless to avoid open and indiscriminate copulation immediately upon hearing the first bars of an early Otis "The King Of Soul" Redding or "Wicked" Wilson Pickett record. Interracial audiences weren't allowed on many shows except in the major metro markets until the mid-60's, or even later in the South. And interracial dancing....holy crap! That just wasn't done until on something cooler came along like Soul Train with Don Cornelius out of Chicago, and not then until maybe the 70's. Things were so incredibly different then.

***The Barbarians clip is part of what I think is the greatest rock film ever made, the mythic The T.A.M.I Show (Teenage Music International) The T.A.M.I. Show (1964) Shot and released as a major motion picture by American International Pictures (the film company that made so many Roger Corman and Vincent Price monster movies and beach-party movies), The T.A.M.I. Show was shot on high-quality film stock in the highest definition of the day. (The T.A.M.I. Show is what the Police were talking about in "When The World Is Running Down":YouTube - The Police - When The World Is Running Down. . .)

The T.A.M.I. Show was shot over two days at a rock show in Santa Monica California in October, 1964, and featured unbelievably good performances by The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Jan and Dean, Lesley Gore, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Supremes, James Brown and The Fabulous Flames and The Rolling Stones and others. These artists were captured either at the height of their power or still getting ready to peak, and you can taste their hunger to give their best effort. James Brown's uber-theatrical high-energy set must be seen to be believed. (Keith Richard has been quoted on more than one occasion as saying the greatest mistake the Stones ever made was following James Brown's incredible performance on The T.A.M.I Show!) Here is part of Brown;s act: YouTube - James Brown "Night Train" Live Here's the killer clip - what a performer. This is likely the most electrifying and powerful piece of rock and roll ever captured on film: YouTube - James Brown/Please please please

More of the show's clips at this index page: YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.




Lobo

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#4 9 years ago

hahaha, well, if you want to watch Los Bravos in a really embarassing movie, eat this one: Los chicos con las chicas (the boys must be with the girls), no, it's not an homophobic rant, the times were not good to even talk about those sophistications, just a naive and camp song

But maybe this one is the most famous song of them, Black is Black




stylie

Mas stylie por favor...

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#5 9 years ago

Hey can we get a nod to Screamin Jay Hawkins? Screaming-jay-hawkinsN.jpg Crap, Jay was too early for this thread... that guy had about 100 kids though... OK I'll do better when I get home!




jumjum

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#6 9 years ago

Lobo;4942742...But maybe this one is the most famous song of them, Black is Black...[/QUOTE] Ah man! How could I have forgotten "Black Is Black"!? A major song, with one of the great screams in rock, and in a harmonic pitch too! But these guys ruin their garage cred by smiling all the damn time. They needed an attitude coach. If only they could have snarled a little, they might have been the Rolling Stones of today, and the washed-up-rockers would be Mick turning tricks in the Turkish Bath, and Keef the old junkie hustling for yet another score.....Oh, wait a minute....

[QUOTE=stylie;4942756]Hey can we get a nod to Screamin Jay Hawkins?....

He was an entirely different genre, spending pretty much all of his career IIRC in New Orleans...at least when he wasn't trying to spead the Screamin' Jay DNA across the world. He had the single greatest screaming song in rock and roll, bar none. A pair of lungs like a bellows in "I Put A Spell On You": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clryRK5lZCc And a truly weird-looking and -acting performer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kGPhpvqtOc&feature=related Dig that crazy three-beat waltz-time. Definitely has that creepy N.O. "gris-gris" feel too it.




Wooly_Bully

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#7 9 years ago

Fantastic post JumJum.

Ended up getting lost in the wilds of youtube and found a couple more tracks that rung a bell.

The Sonics.

Juicy Lucy. First heard this song in Shellshock Nam 67, pretty crappy game.

The Music Explosion.

The Poets.

The Groupies. Heard first in one of my favourite games ever...Vietcong!




Guest

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#8 9 years ago

Not exactly garage rock, but it's from roughly the same timeframe:

YouTube - The Animals-House Of The Rising Sun [maplestory channel] SUbscribe

I love that song. I found it after listening to a cover version/ parody by a German rap group.




jumjum

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#9 9 years ago

Wooly, the only one of those groups I recognize is Music Explosion with "Little Bit O' Soul" - the others were regional bands, or as I see in the case of The Poets, Scottish, and I never heard them. The Groupies particularly are a good example of the garage sound, very American proto-punky - you could put longer hair on them, strip their shirts off and cut their chests and they'd be Iggy!

Ts4EVER, the Animals were precisely the British analog (actually the predecessor) to US garage music. They, along with the early Stones, Kinks and Yardbirds are probably more responsible for US garage music than anyone.

Here's another, "Come On Down To My Boat Baby" by every Mother's Son, 1967 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50b-Q-Z1bF0&feature=related These guys were at the end of the genre, and already getting better more production values in their records, plus they were too smiley and fresh. Hey, I didn't know Al Franken played lead guitar for this group!




jumjum

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#10 9 years ago

Found some more vids of Lobo's favorite anti-garage band of the 60's, Los Bravos. I can just imagine over 30 years ago a small Spanish boy sitting in front of the tv in Madrid, mesmerized as el roc y rolla is played by Los Bravos, as the boy thinks, "Where did they get those fantastic clothes? One day, that will be me up there....."

The first vid is a different tv show, but the same studio recording of "Bring a Little Lovin' " : YouTube - Los Bravos - Bring a little loving

This one is also "Bring a Little Lovin' ", but is an updated re-recording, perhaps a year or two later, maybe 1968-69, and is a little more energetic. YouTube - Los Bravos-Bring A Little LovinĀ“

All kidding aside, it's truly a fantastic song and they do a hell of a job with it. It has a great, driving beat and wonderful performances, with especially excellent vocals - but those damn dancers, in every damn vid, they burn my eyes. This wasn't really Spanish tv was it Lobes? Were they a Spanish group, not Mexican?




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