Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Sound and Vision of Psychedelia (Creem Magazine Article, Jan. 1981)


This is a scan of a long and insightful article about psychedelic music from the January 1981 edition of Creem magazine -- the issue with Bruce Springsteen on the front (see right). It was written by Robert A. Hull, who took the byline Robot A. Hull here, which probably to carry on the tradition of Creem's freewheeling, non-conformist spirit. The mag had been home to Lester Bangs, after all.

It's to the magazine's credit that had guts and foresight enough to run an exhaustive, six-page article on a genre of music that had fallen out of favor with most of the public during this post-punk time period. Since psychedelia has undergone several revivals since then, this might seem unlikely to some people. But the opening paragraph of this article makes the point well.

Actually, the more I think back on this era, the more it occurs to me that few people besides diehard music fans probably knew or cared much at all about most of this music at this point. Sure, everyone remembered Sgt. Pepper and there were still Deadheads and Frank Zappa fans. But most of the general public, especially teenagers, had any knowledge beyond that.

Acts like the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, the 13th Floor Elevators, and the Peanut Butter Conspiracy didn't exactly catch on in a big way during their heyday, so they definitely weren't on most people's radars fifteen years later. If you asked adults who grew up in the '60s if they'd ever heard of Clear Light or the Seeds or got quizzical looks or or derisive responses. Trust me on this one.

The reason for this is we had no Internet. Therefore we had little sense of history, especially teenagers who needed to make an effort beyond a few mouse clicks to find out what went on in the past. As Yogi Berra might have said, the past back then wasn't what it is now. In 1981, if you lived in the 'burbs, you had little chance of finding out Ultimate Spinach even existed, much less of hearing their music.

Maybe you could find old Rolling Stone magazines on microfilm at the library or chance across an old copy of "The Rolling Stone Record Guide." But they sure weren't selling any psychedelic music at the local chain record stores since most records from that era by minor artists were out-of-print. The first exposure I got to vintage vinyl was when an older friend was nice enough to take me to a record convention he was attending in a nearby town.

That's what made this article such a revelation. It explained in detail what psychedelic music was, how it evolved, who its main artists were, and why they were important. It even had a "Psychediscograhy," which listed the most important albums of the genre. From the perspective of someone growing up in the Reagan Era, this article opened a window into a completely new musical world.

As such, the article helped spark my interest in psychedelia. I don't post a lot of psychedelia because other blogs got there first, like the excellent Rockasteria. But I do post the music when I come across something no one else has, like the mono mix of the Seeds' Future or the rare remix of the Grateful Dead's Anthem of the Sun.

Over the years, I've accumulated a cache of out-of-print and homemade psychedelic music compilations that have now become pretty hard to find. Some of them were once online, but the blogs on which they appeared are now defunct. None are for sale. I'll be posting these in the month of November, which I'm declaring "Psychedelic Compilation Month" (much like July was Surf Music Month). So consider this article a prelude to a trip that'll hopefully blow a lot of minds.

Related:
The New Society - The Barock Sound of the New Society (1966)
The Seeds - Future (Mono Mix, 1967)
The Split Level - The Split Level (1968)
The Trout - The Trout (1968)
The Grateful Dead - Aoxomoxoa (Original Mix, 1969)
The Moog Machine - Christmas Becomes Electric (1969)
Various Artists - 60s Psych Pop Treasures, Vol. 15

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ramones - Pleasant Dreams Demos (1981)


Way back on Feb. 18, 1985, I did my first interview with a rock band. Lucky for me that band was the Ramones. They were playing at a club in Baltimore called Girard's, one of the few in town that used to punk acts. I was in college then, but since I was a "stringer" for the local paper, the Baltimore Sun, I was able to finagle my way into the show, mostly thanks to the group's super-cool road manager Monte Melnick.

All told, it was a pretty exciting time. No only did my friends and I get to see the show, but I got to spend an evening chatting with Johnny Ramone, plus fellow band members Joey, Dee Dee and then-drummer Richie.

One of the topics that came up during my interview with Johnny was his unhappiness with the Pleasant Dreams album from 1981. He felt it was too pop-oriented. It was produced by British songwriter Graham Gouldman, who was a member of 10cc, the band that had a huge '70s hit with "I'm Not In Love." "What does that have to do with the Ramones?" Johnny asked me, rhetorically. (He also intoned Gouldman's name the way a little kid might say "Brussels sprouts?!!" when he's served a dinner he doesn't like. Unintentionally hilarious.)

I personally liked Gouldman's commercial makeover of the band for Pleasant Dreams. But for those who didn't, here are a bunch of demos that present much more raw versions of most of the songs. In fact, the hard-driving, no-frills arrangements here aren't all that different from those on Leave Home or Rocket To Russia.

None of these demos ever made it to CD with the exception of "Yea, Yea," which was added to the Road To Ruin reissue. These recordings were, at one point, online and I should credit the now-defunct blog Music Ruined My Life for putting them out. But since that blog has been gone since 2014 and their old link is now dead, here are the Pleasant Dreams demos again in all their rockin' glory.

Related posts:
Various back issues of Trouser Press magazine (1975-84)

Track list:
1. Sitting in My Room
2. She's a Sensation 1
3. She's a Sensation 2
4. Yea, Yea
5. 7-11
6. Don't Go
7. This Business Is Killing Me
8. I Wasn't Looking For Love
9. You Sound Like You're Sick
10. The KKK Took My Baby Away
11. All's Quiet on the Eastern Front
12. Come On Now

Friday, October 28, 2016

Swing Out Sister - You On My Mind (CD Single, 1989)


The lead song from this CD single came from Swing Out Sister's second album Kaleidoscope World, which is possibly their best long player. This Feb. 1989 single release was the group's sixth and it got to #28 in their native England but didn't chart at all in the good ol' U.S.A.

The second track is the upbeat instrumental-with-vocals "Coney Island Man," and it can be found on CD editions of that album as a bonus track. Its third and fourth tracks have become somewhat rare, which is why I'm posting it here.

The "Earth Bound Mix" of "Precious Words" is specific to this single. It's an instrumental version, but it's NOT the same as the "Precious Words (Instrumental)" mix that was added as a bonus track to CD reissues of Kaleidoscope World. That version had both percussion and orchestral elements and runs 4:13. The "Earth Bound Mix" has just the orchestration and runs 3:45. It's also pretty gorgeous. It should be: It was arranged by songwriting great Jimmy Webb and it's clear that Swing Out Sister wanted to show that off by placing it here.

The final track, "You On My Mind (12" Mix) is also known as the "Extended Version" and has become pretty hard to find. Granted, it was put on the 1992 Japanese collection Swing Out Singles. But since most people in the Western Hemisphere don't have that CD, I'm considering this mix a rarity.

***
 
I've always wondered why Swing Out Sister didn't hit bigger in the United States. The group's first two stateside singles, "Breakout" and "Twilight World" charted at #6 and #31, respectively in 1987, but after that they had little success outside the Adult Contemporary chart.

I looked at the U.S. pop charts from 1989 and it seems like there was all sorts of music hitting the charts then: Hair metal, teen pop, dance pop, R&B, college rock, etc. The only thing I can figure is this group was probably too sophisticated to appeal to Top 40 tastes in the states, where the sounds have to appeal to adolescents first and foremost. They were drawing on Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb and that's definitely not where any other big name acts where drawing their influence from in 1989. At least not in the U.S., anyway.

Related posts:
Swing Out Sister - Am I The Same Girl (CD Single, 1992)

Track list:
1. You On My Mind
2. Coney Island Man
3. Precious Words (Earth Bound Mix)
4. You On My Mind (12" Mix)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Swing Out Sister - Am I The Same Girl (CD Single, 1992)


Swing Out Sister is one of my favorite musical acts, so I'm glad to finally have an out-of-print rarity of theirs to post. I'm going to assume most of you know this was a UK group that broke out (heh) in the 1980s with a few big hits, then settled into a jazzy-pop groove and maintained a cult following. They seem to share a fanbase with Basia, an artist I've posted about in the past.

"Am I The Same Girl" was their ninth British single and fellow soul music buffs will know this tune as the instrumental "Soulful Strut" by Young-Holt Unlimited, a #3 hit in the U.S. from Nov. 1968. Somewhere along the line, composers Eugene Record (of the Chi-Lites) and Sonny Sanders added words and turned it into "Am I The Same Girl," which Barbara Acklin took to #79 in Feb. 1969. It's this version Swing Out Sister covers.

That cover -- which is pretty great, by the way -- leads off this CD single is the same as the one included on their album Get In Touch With Yourself except the channels are reversed. So that's sort of a rarity.

But the real rarity here is the next track, the non-LP song "Spirit Moves," which you can't find anywhere but this single. It's not on any of their compilations, not added as a bonus track to any of their CD reissues, and it's nowhere on the Web -- trust me, I looked. The track is a mellow-funky dance number that's not great shakes, but pretty cool if you can't get enough of this group.

Track #3 is just titled "Breakout," but it's actually the seven-minute "N.A.D. Mix" of their big hit song. You can now find this mix as a bonus track on CDs of their debut album It's Better To Travel.

This single offers a surprise second rarity in its fourth and final track: A long, unedited version of "I Can Hear You But I Can't See You," a cut from Get In Touch With Yourself. The difference between this and the album version is that on the album version, there is an edit in the upbeat vocal section at 2:42 that takes the song directly into the mellow coda (which comes in around 3:30 on this single edit). This single version runs almost five minutes and has an extra section of that vocal segment.

Swing Out Sister took this single to #21 in their native England and #45 in the United States. It also reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart in America in October of 1992. Wonder how many people bought this CD version as opposed to the "cassingle" (remember those?) which I remember seeing in record stores at the time.

Related posts:
Swing Out Sister - You On My Mind (CD Single, 1989)

Track list:
1. Am I The Same Girl
2. Spirit Moves
3. Breakout (N.A.D. Mix)
4. I Can Hear You But I Can't See You (Long Version)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #95 (March 1984)


This is my final post for now about Trouser Press magazine. Maybe in the future I'll scan more, but this is it for the time being.

This particular issue the next-to-last one they did. The very last one, with Joey Ramone on the cover, came the following month. What to say about the demise of a magazine that shaped so many people's musical tastes? I think it's apt to draw a comparison to the career trajectory of the Beatles, since they're familiar to most everyone.

Like the Fab Four, Trouser Press started with boundless enthusiasm and came up with fresh ideas that no one else was doing. Then they both had a middle period that was unassailable. As the end drew near, both raised their standards of professionalism, but a cynical tone started to creep in. With the Beatles, that feeling reached its apogee with the White Album. With Trouser Press, it came with this issue.

The cover story about Big Country seemed like it was more about the writer wanting to make sarcastic comments about the band and its image than imparting why their music was popular. This approach can be amusing, but it gets tiresome. It's also why readers like me had turned from the smart-ass Creem to Trouser Press to begin with. The group's MTV-ready visuals might have been contrived, but their guitar-oriented rock was pretty enthralling. And the songs of the late Stuart Adamson still hold up.

Then there's the article on JoBoxers, who had just cracked the American Top 40 with "Just Got Lucky." This feature was just plain weird, concentrating way too much on the band's groupies, which the writer called "gorgons." Huh? Some of this is so over-the-top that I remember at the time thinking maybe the writer was pulling my leg. This is not what readers should have been thinking.

The fact that these two pieces were penned by writers outside the Trouser Press sphere could account for the difference in tone from the mag's usual articles. But there's also the lead album review of Adam Ant's Strip album. It was basically an "eff you" to the singer and his record company, since there was a feature story on him in this very issue. Yes, the review is funny. And yes, it also makes a point. Heck, the Nov. 1978 review of Boston's Don't Look Back even set a precedent for this type of writing. But that review wasn't the lead item, and it wasn't accompanied anything like the aforementioned feature articles.

So, to conclude my Beatles-Trouser Press comparison, reading this issue is like hearing "Piggies," "Yer Blues" or that creepy "Can You Take Me Back?" snippet, and realizing the band now had a much more downbeat worldview than when they were singing things like "And I Love Her," "When I Get Home," and "A Hard Day's Night."

This seems to be the inevitable effect of being part of any marketplace for too long. Any task, no matter how important or fun, can get to be a grind after a while, especially if there's a downside. More on that below.

With all that said, Jim Green's article on remix artist John "Jellybean" Benitez is not only interesting, but forward-looking considering where music was heading. There is also a now-hilarious reference to "disco/pop/rock crossover hopeful Madonna," which is amusing considering how big she became. Actually, Green's phrase was a pretty good description of a singer who would straddle genres and rewrite the rules of popular music.

Finally, the review section of America Underground column was written by John Leland, one of the magazine's regular writers who would go on to work for the New York Times. It starts with a favorable look at the Rain Parade's now-classic Emergency Third Rail Power Trip and also touches on releases by Sonic Youth and Suicidal Tendencies.

Reading this column (which I praised a few days ago for its top-flight regional coverage) you wonder if these new indie acts were what the editors wanted to assign the big articles on but couldn't due to the economics realities of keeping a glossy magazine afloat. If that's the case (and I remember reading somewhere it was), then I don't blame them for closing shop -- and getting cynical. I just wish I could have had one item published by them before they did. But I was still in my teens and submitted nothing because I felt I was too inexperienced. Who knew that Cameron Crowe got his start at age 16? Apparently not me.

Other scanned issues of Trouser Press:
Trouser Press - Issue #09 (June-Aug. 1975)
Trouser Press - Issue #42 (Sept. 1979)
Trouser Press - Issue #44 (Nov. 1979)
Trouser Press - Issue #59 (Feb. 1981) 
Trouser Press - Issue #63 (July 1981)
Trouser Press - Issue #67 (Nov. 1981)
Trouser Press - Issue #70 (Feb. 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #71 (March 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #72 (April 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #84 (April 1983)
Trouser Press - Issue #85 (May 1983)
Trouser Press - Issue #92-93 (Dec. 1983-Jan. 1984)

Contents:
1. Paul Young
2. Nena
3. Jason & the Nashville Scorchers
4. Los Lobos
5. Big Country
6. Jellybean Benitez
7. Adam Ant
8. Marc Almond
9. JoBoxers

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #92-93 (Dec. 1983-Jan. 1984)


As the Beatles once sang, "It's getting very near the end." After this, I've only got one more issue of Trouser Press left to post. Then I'll return to music again.

But for those who like to read as well as listen, this issue should have a lot to offer since it's a "Special Year-End Double Issue" with scads of articles, reviews, and columns. Remember my last blog entry, where I went on about the greatness of the America Underground column? Be sure to check it out in this issue, specifically the very last review which falls under the subhead "Noise Annoys" on page 64. I'll leave this a surprise, but I think everyone will get a kick out of what's there.

Beyond that, this issue covers at the German experimental band Yello before their music became known to the masses through the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," and the Bad Brains, who weren't yet the legends they'd become. There are also reviews of then-new albums by the Gang of Four, Jonathan Richman, Big Country, the Tom Tom Club, and X. And dig the fab-looking full-page ad for the Jam's Snap! collection on page 54. The band's break-up, which was still fresh in everyone's mind then, might have been disappointing, but their excellent double album send-off sure wasn't.

Contents
1. Roman Holliday
2. True West
3. The Alarm
4. Rubber Rodeo
5. Rubinoos
6. Neats
7. Madness
8. Year-End Survey
9. Peter Tosh
10. Blasters
11. Yello
12. Fleshtones
13. Bad Brains
14. Rock Books '83
15. TP Index 1983

Monday, October 24, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #85 (May 1983)


One of the best parts of Trouser Press was its America Underground column, a long-running "department" that reported on unsigned and indie acts. America Underground had dedicated writers, such as Tim Sommer and Robert Payes and started as a sort of round-up of important things that were happening beyond the major labels.

But starting with the Nov. 1982 issue (the one with the Go-Go's on the front), Trouser Press also handed the column over to writers in various localities to cover their hometown scenes. This was one of the best ideas the magazine ever had. In fact, doing regional "scene reports" was revolutionary. No one had thought to do this, at least not in the Trouser Press era.

Because of America Underground's scene reports, music fans got to learn about what was happening in specific areas of the country. This flew in the face of what mainstream radio and the corporate media were peddling then, which were homogenized "national" acts.

If you look at the cover of this issue, up in the top right corner is the list of which areas got coverage for that month: San Francisco, Milwaukee, Tallahassee, and Pittsburgh. Come the next month, there would be write-ups on four different cities. And four more the month after that.

Yes, back in the '80s you could buy fanzines to get info on bands in your hometown. But they were usually only available in bookstores and record stores in metropolitan areas. Kids who were stranded out in the suburbs (ahem) didn't have access to this kind of information, so Trouser Press provided a vital service.

A year after this issue was published, Trouser Press would be gone. When I heard about its demise, I remember thinking "How am I going to learn about all the grassroots music happening across the country without America Underground?!" The sad truth is, I didn't.

Bands like the Minutemen, Husker Du, and even the Beastie Boys got what was probably their first-ever national coverage in the America Underground column. The rest of us learned about them before anyone else. I've still got a couple more issues of Trouser Press I plan on posting, so keep your eye on American Underground when I do. You just might be surprised at what you find.

Contents:
1. Blancmange
2. ESG
3. Fan Clubs
4. Pretenders
5. Malcolm McLaren
6. Dexys Midnight Runners

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #72 (April 1982)


Here's an interesting bit of trivia I'll bet most fans of Trouser Press magazine don't know: At one point the magazine toyed with changing its name. That point was in April of 1982, and that month's issue was printed with two separate covers. Some editions bore a new, projected name, the Beat, while others had the standard moniker (see right). Why?

According to the mag's Web site: "(W)e began to tire of the marketing problems (the name) engendered. Newsstands rarely racked us in the right section, advertisers didn't take us seriously, suppliers invariably asked for an explanation." They tried to test market the product under a different name and found that it "proved nothing," so they kept on as Trouser Press.

Did the quirky name Trouser Press damage the brand of the product? It's hard to say for certain. But one thing that can be said for sure is that the actual music journalism inside was head-and-shoulders above anything else on newsstands at the time. As an example, I give to you this issue's cover story on the Talking Heads, which was penned by Scott Isler, arguably the mag's best writer. Isler's piece is well-paced and insightful, and has an introductory set-up that so clever I've never forgotten it after all these years. Even if you're indifferent to this group, I encourage you to read this article. It's truly rock journalism at its best.

Another outstanding piece is Karen Schlosberg's profile of Steve Lillywhite, known for his production work with the Stranglers, Marshall Crenshaw, and U2 among others. What other magazine did in-depth features on cutting-edge producers that actually took you inside the music? Back then, the only producer that got more than a few paragraphs was Phil Spector, who was from a much earlier era.

The Led Zeppelin article mentioned on the cover wasn't an interview but a mock "best of" collection put together by writer Jon Young. Young didn't really need to do an interview, though. The ultimate Zeppelin-related interview was Dave Schulps' massive three-part talk with Jimmy Page that ran in installments in issues #21-#23 (Sept.-Nov. 1977) and went over practically every iota of Page's career. It's still considered one of the most in-depth interviews ever with the rock legend.

Gee, you'd think after that kind of journalistic coup, the name Trouser Press would have been established and a name change would have been beside the point. But the pop world can be fickle, and so we have this lone issue of Trouser Press with an alternate moniker.

Contents:
1. Jimmy Destri
2. Pete Shelley
3. Fleshtones
4. Blotto
5. Blasters
6. Talking Heads
7. Led Zeppelin
8. Steve Lillywhite

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #63 (July 1981)


And here's still more Trouser Press. There's lots of great stuff in this issue. The cover story marks a departure from the mag's usual features about musical figures. Instead, writer Scott Isler interviews filmmaker Lech Kowalski about his documentary on the Sex Pistols, "D.O.A." Reading it in 1981, I remember thinking what a great idea Kowalski had when he set out to film the Pistols on tour in America. These days, I can't believe the guy was 28 when he was interviewed for this article and that he seemed old to be back then.

But the big thing for me was the revealing interview with the late rock legend Steve Marriott. Writer Jim Green got Marriott to talk about his time in the Small Faces in more detail than probably any other American writer at the time, and this was a revelation to me. Like a lot of Americans, I only knew the group through their lone U.S. hit "Itchycoo Park." This article showed their was much more to them then that, and when I saw the album The Immediate Story on sale I picked it up and became a lifelong Small Faces fan.

There's also an amusing article by Jon Young about the then-popular genre of heavy metal. The genre itself wasn't so amusing if you were in high school who preferred punk and oldies, but metal was pretty much the only music that was "acceptable" to listen to.

Finally, there are some advertisement in this issue that I now consider classic (see right). Punk and new wave might just have been rock's golden era when looked at strictly from a graphic design viewpoint.

One example is the Wax Trax catalog advertisement with its industrial-looking smokestacks. It doesn't explain at all what the company was about, but it was very evocative of a certain "industrial" feel a lot of the new music at the time had. Then there was the Posh Boy Records ad that had an outrageous handwritten "headline" that exclaimed "Music for teenage sex!!" This was just the sort of thing to scare parents and teachers away from punk rock if they happened to spot it when you were reading the magazine. But then, that was part of the music's appeal, wasn't it?

Contents:
1. Carl Wilson
2. U2
3. Adam & the Ants
4. Rocket 88
5. Dave Edmunds
6. Dick Clark
7. Steve Marriott
8. Sex Pistols Film
9. David Bowie Scrapbook
10. Heavy Metal

Friday, October 21, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #60 (April 1981)


The late, great lead singer of the Clash Joe Strummer gets interviewed by New Musical Express scribe Chris Salewicz for this issue's cover story. I remember this being a huge deal at the time. The Clash had just released Sandinista! (which gets reviewed by publisher Ira Robbins here), and interest was high among new wavers, punks, and people who knew a bit about music.

I have a distinct memory of buying this issue at a short-lived local record store called Blueberries. That same day I also bought a copy of the Jam's Sound Affects, which is also reviewed in this issue. Why do I remember the exact details of music mags and albums I bought as a teenager when I can't even remember what I did last week? Guess it's that adolescent "memory bump" that Dr. Helen Fisher has spoken about. But I digress.

From what I recall, this issue also inspired me to write some things about the Clash in our school paper, which annoyed the hell out of the punk-averse popular kids who were very into AOR groups around this time. A year later, when the Clash exploded with their hits off Combat Rock, these kids were not only apologetic to me, but started treating me like something of a musical sage ("How did you know?!").

I've told this story before on this blog, but I can't help but tell it again. The memories of cheerleaders who went from despising me to hanging on my every word and asking me to go to local clubs are too good to ever forget. I got invited to a lot of parties in the summer of 1982, and have this magazine partially to thank for my transition from Teenage Outcast to Popular Kid. I kid you not.

Wow, was that ever a digression. Then again, who wants to read someone writing about other writers? If you wanna know what's inside the magazine, check it out for yourself. It's definitely one of the best issues they ever did, and I especially like the look that Trouser Press developed around this time. Even the advertisements have a classic feel about them.

Before departing, I should also single out Mick Farren's column on the tragic fate of the late Steve Peregrine Took for special praise. This was the first time I'd ever heard of the concept of self-sabotage and I took it to heart. Farren died a few years back and there was a massive outpouring of grief on Facebook. While he was beloved as a performer, this insightful column is the perfect example of why he was also praised as a writer.

Related posts:
Trouser Press - Issue #09 (June-Aug. 1975)
Trouser Press - Issue #42 (Sept. 1979)
Trouser Press - Issue #44 (Nov. 1979)
Trouser Press - Issue #59 (Feb. 1981)
Trouser Press - Issue #67 (Nov. 1981)
Trouser Press - Issue #70 (Feb. 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #71 (March 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #84 (April 1983)

Contents:
1. The Vapors
2. Grace Slick
3. Martha and the Muffins
4. Fischer Z
5. Chas Jankel
6. The Clash
7. Son Of Stiff Tour
8. Female Rock Audience
9. Clone Rock
10. UK Independent Labels

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #59 (Feb. 1981)


My scans of old Trouser Press issues now bring us into the 1980s. Actually, I've posted issues from the '80s before. It's just that with this new batch I'm doing it chronologically, so here we are back in the Reagan Era again.

One of the most interesting aspects of this issue are that it contains several "best of" lists for the year 1980. The magazine's critics voted London Calling by the Clash as the year's best album and "Going Underground/"Dreams Of Children" as the best single, two choices I'd definitely agree with. The album review section leads with a look at Double Fantasy in the immediate wake of John Lennon's assassination. Page two also includes a tribute to Lennon.

Even though Rockpile was showcased on the cover, most people probably bought this issue for the article on the Police, who were just starting to really take off in America. It closes with a quote from Sting that was funny then and remains funny now: "By the way, if I give you my trousers today, do you think you can have them pressed by tomorrow?"

Related posts:
Trouser Press - Issue #09 (June-Aug. 1975) 
Trouser Press - Issue #42 (Sept. 1979)
Trouser Press - Issue #44 (Nov. 1979)
Trouser Press - Issue #67 (Nov. 1981)
Trouser Press - Issue #70 (Feb. 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #71 (March 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #84 (April 1983)

Contents:
1. Tips for the Top, Middle, and Bottom
2. Top LPs of the Year
3. Top 45s of the Year
4. The Underground's Best
5. Siouxie & the Banshees
6. George Thorogood
7. Monochrome Set
8. Bad Manners
9. Rockpile
10. Rock On Tour
11. Police
12. Gang Of Four

Monday, October 17, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #44 (Nov. 1979)


Trouser Press Week continues with one of my favorite issues ever. Here's a fun story 'bout why.

Back in the mid-1980s, I heard the music of Jonathan Richman on the local alternative station, WHFS, which was located in the Washington, DC area. I wanted to learn about who he was, but since there was no Internet, info was hard to come by. The Rolling Stone Record Guides weren't much help and there were no other books in bookstores or the local libraries that had any info.

As if by magic, I chanced upon this very back issue of Trouser Press in a record store called Joe's Record Paradise. It contained a long article on Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. It remains one of the most comprehensive pieces on him I've read to this day. All of a sudden, I had a road map to Richman's music and a good idea of what he was all about.

Soon, I became a huge Jonathan fan, getting all his albums and going to almost all of his DC-area shows at now-defunct venues like the Club Saba (which had been previously called The Roxy -- for all you DC music historians). I still have the ticket stub for the show Richman did there on Aug. 5, 1985 (see right). Bruce Springsteen was performing that very night at RFK Stadium in DC and earlier in the summer, I'd waited in line all night to buy a ticket. But when I heard Richman was playing the same evening, I sold my Springsteen ticket so I could see Richman instead. No regrets, then or now. It was a great show.

All of this should sum up why I ended up seeking out so many back issues of this magazine. You just didn't find writing like this anywhere else. Go to: www.trouserpress.com.

Related posts:
Trouser Press - Issue #09 (June-Aug. 1975) 
Trouser Press - Issue #42 (Sept. 1979)
Trouser Press - Issue #67 (Nov. 1981)
Trouser Press - Issue #70 (Feb. 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #71 (March 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #84 (April 1983)

Contents:
1. Roy Loney
2. B-52's
3. Members
4. Yachts
5. Magazine
6. Herman Brood
7. Thin Lizzy
8. Johansen/Dolls
9. Talking Heads
10. Dave Davies
11. Kinks Tree
12. Modern Lovers

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #42 (Sept. 1979)


Well, it looks like this is going to be Trouser Press week. I scanned a bunch of old issues and may as well put 'em out in a batch so you all can read 'em. Since I post every other day now, this might go on for a while. I've been posting scanned issues of Trouser Press sporadically; for background on why I think this was such an important rock magazine, see my first post on the subject.

This issue, from Sept. 1979, has an all-star lineup artists for its feature articles. But what I think is really cool is the album reviews section. What's reviewed? The Cars' Candy-O, Wings' Back to the Egg, Queen's Live Killers, Neil Young's Rust Never Sleeps, the Knack's Get the Knack, and Ian Dury's Do It Yourself. Talk about a time capsule.

Elsewhere, the Robert Fripp interview makes for fascinating reading -- as most Fripp interviews tend to do since the guy can be simultaneously erudite and unintentionally comical because of his intensity. This one is from the period where he was doing solo Frippertronics shows and being a "small, mobile, intelligent unit," or whatever the phrase was. I might goof on the guy occasionally (what fan doesn't?) but I still listen to Exposure regularly along with King Crimson, so he clearly left and impression on my youthful brain -- and much of that came about because of this magazine.

The feature on Japan isn't about the artsy UK band, but the Japanese rock scene at the time. This is the sort of unique article that only Trouser Press would think to do. As usual, they proved ahead of their time when the Japanese rock scene experienced a mini-surge of popularity a decade later with groups like Cibo Matto and the Boredoms achieving some stateside popularity.

The A's article isn't about the baseball team, but about the souful, new wav-ish Philadelphia band that made a minor splash with "A Woman's Got the Power." Kenney Jones was a new member of the Who when his interview was done, so this is a look at how he was doing during that period.

One of the more interesting aspects of scanning all these back issues is noticing how the magazine evolved. For issue starting around 1981, they began numbering the pages starting from the cover. But here, the page numbered as page one is actually page three if you start your count from the cover. When you're scanning, of course, the cover is page one. So, I had to find a way to title the cover and its inner page so I could keep my scan numbering even with the actual page numbers. Not surprisingly, I titled the cover "cover" and the inner page "inner." What did you expect?

Related posts:
Trouser Press - Issue #09 (June-Aug. 1975)
Trouser Press - Issue #67 (Nov. 1981)
Trouser Press - Issue #70 (Feb. 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #71 (March 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #84 (April 1983)

Contents:
1. The A's
2. Moon Martin
3. John Cale
4. Wings
5. Blondie
6. Kenney Jones
7. Devo
8. Robert Fripp
9. Japan
 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trouser Press - Issue #09 (June-Aug. 1975)

 
Here's another old issue of Trouser Press magazine. In fact, it's the oldest one I own. I wasn't old enough to buy rock magazines when it came out, but I bought it as a back issue in the late 1990s (along with scads of others).

It's amusing to see the roots of this magazine. It's clearly homemade and some of the graphics are hand-drawn. It's sort of the visual equivalent of discovering an old band's early, mono singles. Back then, the mag was called Trans-Oceanic Trouser Press, which was a nod to its focus on all thing overseas in the UK. Plus it wasn't monthly yet, which is why it's the "June-Aug." issue. They were only doing a few a year at this point.

This one has a look at the films of the Rolling Stones, plus profiles of several groups who would later prove influential in some way: Sparks, Gong, and Brinsley Schwarz. The people behind the magazine were big Who fans, so there's also a rundown of the solo career of John Entwistle who was, of course, the band's bassist.

At the time, Trouser Press was almost exclusively covering the British rock scene and few other magazines were dedicating large amounts of space to pub rock acts or obscure prog bands. And speaking of prog bands, dig the photos of the young, long-haired Stewart Copeland, back before the Police were formed and he was a member of Curved Air.

The issue does have one article that points the way to Trouser Press' future as the pre-eminent new wave magazine of its day: Buried in the middle is a feature on the New York City band the Planets. My instinct here was to say "No one knew the city's bands were about to change the course of pop music," but this article shows that TP did seem to know, in some respects. When the CBGB's scene exploded, the writers were there to document it -- while the rest of the country still thought Blondie was a comic strip with some guy named Dagwood.

Trouser Press' publisher and founder, Ira Robbins, got in touch to give this blog a thumbs-up for documenting his magazine. Turns out that he's also been scanning back issues. Coincidentally, I scanned a bunch more. I'll post them, but I also gave him the links to my scans if he wanted to us them. (Hopefully my quality will pass muster!) Check the magazine's official Web site out at www.trouserpress.com.

Related posts:
Trouser Press - Issue #67 (Nov. 1981)
Trouser Press - Issue #70 (Feb. 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #71 (March 1982)
Trouser Press - Issue #84 (April 1983)

Contents:
1. The Reel Stones
2. Ox Tales
3. Brinsley Schwarz
4. Ron & Russell: At Home, At Work, At Play
5. The Pinkies That Destroyed the World
6. The Hudson-Ford Union
7. The Planets
8. Gong
9. Curved Air: A Brief Blast
10. The Animals: Part III

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mark Sten's Chapter On "The In-Between Years (1958-1963)" - From the Book "Rock Almanac" (1978)


This might be a music blog, but I also post printed material here when I feel something is particularly important and of still of exceptional quality, such as old issues of the rock magazine Trouser Press. So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that I dug up a chapter of a old rock book and decided to post it because I also felt it had historical significance. During the heyday of rock criticism, there were essays that were as important to me as the music itself. This is one of them.

"The In-Between Years (1958-1963)" was an essay that appeared as a chapter in the 1978 book "Rock Almanac" and was penned by a writer named Mark Sten The book was co-edited by British scribe Charlie Gillett, who wrote the seminal rock book "The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll." Like that book, this one presents a loose history of rock music through the '70s.

I discovered "Rock Almanac" in my college library way back in the 1980s. Sten's essay stood out. In fact, it made such an impression that I copied the entire chapter using the old rickety vintage photocopier and kept it all this time as reference material. During the past few years, I discovered other people were influenced by it too because it got mentioned in books and on blogs. So I thought I'd provide a service to pop fans and historians and make it easily available. This download is taken from the very photocopies I made back during the "Family Ties" days.

Sten might not have coined the phrase "The In-Between Years," but his use of it as a chapter title helped define a time period most rock writers didn't bother exploring. The points Sten made have also aged exceptionally well. His main one is a rebuttal of the theory that rock'n'roll "died" between the period when Elvis got drafted and the Beatles became popular.

Not only didn't rock'n'roll die, Sten says, but a whole bunch of important genres began to flourish, such as girl group, soul music, lounge music, New Orleans rock, and surf music. This helped expand rock'n'roll's breadth and set the stage for the Beatles. So, the Fab Four didn't so much wipe out what had gone before (as is commonly thought) but built on it.

Granted, that's become more obvious now, since the Internet and the passage of time have given people more perspective on how influenced the Beatles and others were by this era. But at the time I read this, the party line was that the Beatles came along and "saved" rock music and that the pre-Beatles '60s were a nightmare of bad pop records and singers. Not quite. The music of the early '60s might not have been as sociologically important or musically adventurous as the pop explosion of the mid-1960s, but a lot of it was pretty great -- and important in its own way.

"The In-Between Years"  opened by eyes to the fact that 1). History is something that is often more a matter of perspective than fact and; 2). This period had tons of great music, but it wasn't always easy to find.

In the pre-Internet days, hearing "In-Between Years Music" meant searching out oldies programs like "The Joe Donovan Show," which used to air during the overnight hours on WHAS-AM 840 out of Kentucky. (Anyone remember this show? If so, I have old tapes I might post.) On the local level, finding this music meant me seeking out oldies record stores in my area, since they were the only places you could get music by artists like Ron Holden, the Dixie Cups, Robin Luke, the Pixies Three, Skip & Flip, etc.

It's hard to imagine that this is the way things were before the Internet brought us YouTube and blogs. But back in 1988 you couldn't just think "Hey! I wonder what the Orlons sounded like?" and click a mouse to find out. You actually had to seek this stuff out -- sometimes with difficulty. So, it's to Sten's credit that he was onto how great a lot of this stuff was back in 1978.

That said, his essay isn't totally laudatory regarding this era. He rightfully comes down on some of the more shallow pop singers of that era -- the ones who were more about looks than talent. But he deserves credit for opening people's eyes to the really great music that came out during this time period. Because that's something no one else had thought to do.

Related:
Ron Holden - Love You So (1960)
Janie Grant Meets Diane Ray - 32 Classic Cuts (1961-64)
Donna Lynn Meets Robin Clark (1961-65) 
The Orlons - Soulful Sides (1963-67)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Cyrkle - Neon (Original Vinyl Stereo Edition, 1967)


Alert readers will notice that I posted this same album a few days ago in its mono form. Readers not paying attention will probably think this is the same post and miss this one.

But that's the breaks. I felt I had to post my stereo rip of the vinyl for this album for several reasons. First, the vinyl sounds different than the CD reissue. Like the Style Council mini-LP I posted a few months ago, the CD's EQ isn't quite the same, and there seems to be some compression added. So, even though I don't blog about any music that's in print, this technically isn't in print since the out-of-print vinyl has a different sound than the CD.

Second, since I just posted the mono version of this LP and and spoke about how it compared to the stereo one, I figured I should let people compare and contrast themselves. As I mentioned in my last post, the mono version rights slightly faster and the fades are shorter, so this album is a half-minute longer.

Because I wrote at length about this album alreayd, there's no need for me to expound on it again. But one thing I didn't mention last time 'round is that John Simon produced it. I'm not sure if most people know the Cyrkle's producer was also The Guy That Produced the Band's Music From Big Pink and wrote Manfred Mann's fab 1968 UK hit "My Name Is Jack." But if anyone didn't know previously, they know now.

Related:
Cristina - Cristina (Vinyl Edition, 1980)
Cristina - Sleep It Off (Vinyl Edition, 1984)
The Style Council - Introducing: The Style Council (Vinyl Edition, 1983)
The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys (Vinyl Edition, 1985)

Track list:
1. Don't Cry, No Fears, No Tears Comin' Your Way
2. The Visit (She Was Here)
3. Weight Of Your Words
4. I Wish You Could Be Here
5. It Doesn't Matter Anymore
6. Two Rooms
7. Our Love Affair's In Question
8. I'm Happy Just To Dance With You
9. Problem Child
10. Please Don't Ever Leave Me
11. I'm Not Sure What I Wanna Do

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Cyrkle - Neon (Mono Mix, 1967)


Never released on CD, the mono mix of the Cyrkle's second album isn't all that different than the stereo one. But there are enough differences to make it a worthwhile listen. This is the version of the album I became familiar with three decades ago when I came across a sealed mono copy in a record store -- for $1. In fact, this rip is from that exact copy of the LP. So here's my take on it.

The Cyrkle's second album didn't have any hits as big as the title song of their 1966 debut LP Red Rubber Ball or their follow-up hit, "Turn-Down Day." But I'd argue that Neon is a more consistent effort overall. No individual song might not be as good as either of their hits, but put 'em together and the sum is more than the parts.

The songs, most of which are about broken relationships, play well off each other and create a somewhat moody, pensive atmosphere. The group didn't write either of those aforementioned big hits, but they started to come onto their own as writers here with self-penned songs like "Our Love Affair's in Question," "Weight Of Your Words," and "Two Rooms." Plus, their constantly-modulating version of the Beatles' "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You" showed that they had impressive interpretive skills and a sense of humor. If they were kidding, that is.

As for mono vs. stereo: Like Jan & Dean's Little Old Lady From Pasadena album, which I posted this summer, the mono version of this LP runs at a slightly faster speed than the stereo mix. In this case, the speed is only a tiny bit faster. But it's still something I noticed when I did rips of each version and compared them side-by-side.

Also, some of the mono mixes fade out sooner. No, that's not a mistake. Most of the mono mixes are shorter, which is the opposite from a lot of mono Beatles and Beach Boys mixes, which were usually longer. Go figure. Taking into account that and the speed issue, this makes the mono album a good half-minute shorter than its stereo counterpart.

On top of that, some of the mono fade-outs sound "bumpy," as if the faders they were using were notched. The EQ on the mono mix is also a bit different, with a small bump in the high midrange, giving the record a somewhat nasal sound. To my ears, anyway. All of this shows this is a dedicated mono mix, not a fold-down of the stereo.

Neon only got to #164 on the Billboard chart and the singles pulled from it, "Please Don't Ever Leave Me" and "I Wish You Could Be Here," failed to crack the Top 40. The latter was co-written by Paul Simon and the Seekers' Bruce Woodley, who had written "Red Rubber Ball."

"I Wish You Could Be Here" deserves special attention. First off, it was a questionable choice for a single: It's a slow-moving, dreary ballad with none of the pop appeal of "Red Rubber Ball." But, alas, it works great as an album cut. Besides conjuring up a believably somber mood, it paints a vivid visual picture of a specific scenario, which is also something done in several of the other songs, like "The Visit" (She Was Here), "Two Rooms," and "Problem Child."

The Cyrkle never released another album per se, but did provide the score for a 1969 film called "The Minx" and got a soundtrack album released from that. It's a tuneful, if slight, effort but if you like this album, I'd strongly recommend getting that one.

Related:
Chad & Jeremy - Yesterday's Gone (Mono Mix, 1964) 
Lesley Gore - My Town, My Guy and Me (Mono Mix, 1965)
The Leaves - Hey Joe (Mono Mix, 1966)
The Association - Renaissance (Mono Mix, 1967)
The Seeds - Future (Mono Mix, 1967)

Track list:
1. Don't Cry, No Fears, No Tears Comin' Your Way
2. The Visit (She Was Here)
3. Weight Of Your Words
4. I Wish You Could Be Here
5. It Doesn't Matter Anymore
6. Two Rooms
7. Our Love Affair's In Question
8. I'm Happy Just To Dance With You
9. Problem Child
10. Please Don't Ever Leave Me
11. I'm Not Sure What I Wanna Do

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Sunbeams - The Sunbeams Story (1994)


This blog's focus has always been to present music that's obscure and/or out-of-print. Well, for this entry, I've gone one better. As far as I know, this foreign compilation CD of a Norwegian band from the '60s was never even in print in any English-speaking country.

That's because this group, the Sunbeams, was barely known outside of Norway. Who were the Sunbeams? They were group that mostly did instrumentals and had a sound halfway between Lawrence Welk and the Marketts. It's old-fashioned music, but done with a rock rhythm section.

Most of the tunes were were cut in 1963 (exact dates are in the tags) and have a formality about them that seriously dates them. Then again, that's part of the charm. You're not likely to hear anything as schmaltzy as their version of "Green Leaves Of Summer" (a hit for the Brothers Four) anywhere else.

There were no liner notes included in this set and there is pretty much no other information about them online. So that's pretty much all I know. If anyone out there has any more info, feel free to chime in.

Track list:
1. I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts
2. Schlafe, mein Prinzchen
3. Tennessee Waltz
4. Donauwellen
5. The Green Leaves of Summer
6. Twist in the Sunshine
7. Blues in the Moonlight
8. Grand Pa
9. Washington Square
10. Murder She Said
11. Let Me Go, Lover
12. I'll Miss You
13. Stupid Cupid
14. Carry Me Back to Old Virginny
15. Murder She Says (Alt. Take)
16. Stupid Cupid (Alt. Take)
17. Twilight Time
18. On Top of Old Smokey

Monday, October 3, 2016

Various Artists - 60s Psych Pop Treasures Vol. 15 (2016)


A few months ago I created the compilation Northern Soul Girls Rock! Disc 4 as a way to collect up great songs that didn't make it onto the first three volumes. That worked out so well that I decided to do the same thing with the 60s Psych Pop Treasures series. I had a bunch of songs sitting around that hadn't made it onto any psychedelic pop comps, so rather than just make a one-off collection, I thought I'd create a final volume to 60s Psych Pop Treasures.

At this point, a lot of readers might feel compelled to ask, "Hey -- what exactly was 60s Psych Pop Treasures? And why isn't there an apostrophe at the beginning of the word '60s?" 60s Psych Pop Treasures was a series put together by the now-defunct blog Psychedelic House of Sunshine & Baroque Delights which was active from 2008-2012. You can still access the blog if you search for it, but be careful if you click on the link because it's filled with malware now.

Anyway, the guy who ran this blog created this series, which collects up a lot of really cool obscurities. Granted, there were some repeat songs from other series, like Fading Yellow and Piccadilly Sunshine. And it bugged me he didn't bother to include an apostrophe at the beginning of the word "'60s." But for the most part, his collections were really good and he hipped me to scads of fantastic old obscurities.

Since readers of this blog had problems located the first three Northern Soul Girls Rock! sets, I'll direct you to where you can find all of the Psych Pop Treasures sets. The first seven are here and the last seven are here. I decided to make this new collection a continuation of this series -- as opposed to a stand-alone set -- for a few reason. For one thing, Psych Pop Treasures was download-only (as opposed to being on CD). Plus, the series had ended, so it could be revived by an outside source, unlike series like Fading Yellow or Piccadilly Sunshine which are ongoing.

For Volume 15, I just continued doing what the original compiler did: I found a bunch of psychedelic-tinged pop 45s and made 'em into an album of sorts. Like that series, I also stretched the definition of "psych pop" to include more folkie stuff or just out-and-out pop that was a bit edgy.

I didn't do my usual clean up job on the files and left some pops and scratches in them to keep the sound in line with the rest of the volumes. I did make sure the song titles and artist names were accurate, though. For example, it's "Medical Missionaries..." not "The Medical Missionaries..."

Finally, I continued the tradition of creating homemade cover art. I do this anyway for all of my own collections, but this one is specifically psychedelic in focus, so dig it, man. Plus, doing this means all those years in college I that did graphic design for newspapers didn't go to waste.

And that's all she wrote. I'm not going to speak on any of these tunes because part of the fun of the original volumes was that their lack of liner notes meant the songs and artists were a big mystery. Hope I also hipped all you popsike people to some cool new-old tunes.

Track list:
1. Allen Pound's Get Rich - Searchin' in the Wilderness
2. Adam, Mike & Tim - You're The Reason Why
3. Kenny Everett - Nice Time
4. The Family - Face the Autumn
5. Burlington Express - One Day Girl (Twenty-Four)
6. A New Generation - Mr. C.
7. The Scots Of Saint James - Timothy
8. The Swampseeds - Can I Carry Your Balloon
9. Disraeli - Say You Love Me
10. The Merrymen - Walking Down Lonesome Road
11. Bocky & the Visions - I'm Not Worth It
12. The Rockin' Ramrods - Don't Fool With Fu Manchu
13. Jennifer Warren - I Am Waiting
14. The Lemon Sandwich - Give Me Love
15. Medical Missionaries Of Mary Choral Group - Angels (Watching Over Me)
16. Las Buby Girls - Dabadaba
17. Endle St. Cloud in the Rain - Tell Me One More Time (What's Happening To Our World)
18. The Joint Effort - The Square
19. The Ramblers - Father Sebastian
20. The Racket Squad - No Fair At All
21. Gene Marshall - We Are The Men Counting Sheep
22. The British Lion Orchestra - Souvenirs of Raymond (Souvenirs Of Stefan)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Hombres - Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) (1967)


I decided to revive this blog to post some odds and ends I'd already prepared before I signed off. Also, I thought I should keep the archives up-and-running because people are taking my rips and posting them as their own -- the most recent example being the rip I made of Marshall Crenshaw's out-of-print "U.S. Remix" EP. My original, with proper tags, full graphics, and label pics, can be found here (there's also a brief history of why this release came to be).

From here on in, I'll be posting more sporadically. I still don't like being part of the Google/Blogger/YouTube industrial complex, considering how they're censoring "incorrect" viewpoints and tweaking search results for political reasons. Once again, I don't buy the argument that goes "They're a private company so they can do what they want. It's a violation of the First Amendment for a company to block selected speech." If you believe that, you just gave them the license to block all speech by Jews or Muslims if they so choose. They can do what they want, right?

I appreciate the notes of thanks I got when I signed off, and I agree that it makes little sense to move the whole blog somewhere else after I did all this work on Blogger already. I also agree it makes no sense to delete the archives, because that would only punish innocent bystanders whose only aim is to find cool, obscure music. For example, you're not going to hear the lone album by Lindy Stevens' album anywhere else. It's my find and I spent days making a super-high-quality rip of it. It's a great LP that's out-of-print and unlikely to get a rerelease, so it should stay online and be heard.

That said, when I do post, I'm going to try to make things politically incorrect whenever possible because the Google people (and our society) deserve that. When someone steps in to play the role of unelected Mother Superior, I make it my duty to be the most troublesome kid in the class. That's kind of what America was founded on, after all. Hell, that's what rock'n'roll was all about, before sanctimonious stars and priggish Ivy League rock critics came along and ruined it.

To that end, here are the Hombres, a group with a somewhat ethnically insensitive name and focus. They weren't Hispanic, yet they used a Spanish word as their moniker, and dressed the part. There's no way they'd be getting away with that today, considering there are newspapers who won't use the word "Redskins" when speaking about Washington, D.C.'s football team.

Like almost everything vinyl-related on this blog, this has never come out on CD and is long out of print. As for the group itself, they're one-hit wonders. Sort of. They hit #12 in the fall of 1967 with the title track from this album. But they also got to #113 in Jan. 1968 with "It's A Gas," which closes the LP. So that's sort of a second hit. John Mellencamp, by the way, recorded an excellent cover of "Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)" for his 1989 album Big Daddy, where it was included as a hidden track.

Track list:
1. Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)
2. Little 2 Plus 2
3. So Sad
4. Gloria
5. Am I High
6. Mau Mau Mau
7. This Little Girl
8. Sorry 'Bout That
9. Ya Ya
10. Hey Little Girl
11. It's A Gas