Monday, October 31, 2005

Garage Sale

This week, I’m going to post the GARAGE SALE compilation that came out on ROIR records in 1985. The comp was put together by Jeff Tamarkin through Goldmine Magazine.

I thought it was a good compilation at the time even though it focused mainly on the Northeast and California. There were garage bands in other cities.

The sound quality is not great. What do you expect, they’re taken from a twenty year old cassette.

The Mosquitos - Darn Well (Long Island, NY)

The Vipers - Who Dat? (NYC)

The Gravedigger V - She Got (San Diego)

The Trip - Never Too Late For Linda (San Francisco)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Go Devil Go

Get behind me, Devil.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Another W.E.A.K. Program

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Time Fades Away

A long time ago, I decided that I would try to find all of Neil Young’s LPs from the Seventies. Used. Under 5 bucks. It only took a few months to find most of the records but there were two albums that were very hard to find. I overpaid for a beat-up copy of JOURNEY THOUGH THE PAST at a flea market. I paid six bucks figuring that was still in my price range and the price was balanced out by my getting copies of ON THE BEACH and LONG MAY YOU RUN for free. I was wrong, JOURNEY THROUGH THE PAST stinks and a dollar would have been paying too much.

But that wasn’t the hard one to find. I have never seen a used copy of TIME FADES AWAY. But Dave R. took pity and gave me a copy that he found in a Chattanooga pawn shop back in the early Eighties. Thanks Dave!

TIME FADES AWAY is a great record, one of Neil’s best. Neil Young doesn’t like it, he was going through a very rough patch in his life on the tour when the LP was being recorded. It’s not an era that he wants to revisit – he ignored the whole album when he put DECADE together. Also, the master tapes may not be usable. It’s not (and probably never will be) available on CD. Read more about it here.

This is cool: The cover is printed on reversed black stock and left uncoated. The cover was designed to fade away over time. Despite all that, the cover I have is still in good shape after 30 years, three owners and a pawn shop.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Man descended,

Monday, October 24, 2005

Daddy Rolling Stone

There have been lots of covers of this great Otis Blackwell song, including Johnny Thunders, The Who and Hank Ballard. This is my favorite version of the song. I found the record at a rescue mission here in Huntsville.

Jimmy Ricks was born in Adrien, Georgia in 1924. Ricks spent 10 years singing bass for the Ravens before going solo in 1955. He cut a bunch of solo singles but this is the only one Ricks recorded with a groups called The Raves. "Daddy Rolling Stone" came out on Atco in 1962 with "Homesick” on the b-side. The same year, Atco president Herb Abramson also released the same song with a different song on the flipside on his own Festival label. I don't know which record came out first. Ricks went on to sing with the Count Basie Orchestra. He died in 1974.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Somebody's always talking about me

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Big doin's here tonight

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tell me

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ruby's House Party

Be glad that you don’t live downstairs from Ruby. Ruby has house parties and she won’t invite you. There was another party for the b-side. Other than the sax player, nobody showed up for that one.

I don’t know much about this record. I did a quick web search and found out that it was released in 1971 and was recorded in Philadelphia. It’s been comped on a record called THE SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA anyway. The 45 is on Law-Ton Records, which was part of Avco records. That’s about it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Die! Die! Die!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Far away,

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Mighty fine,

Thursday, October 13, 2005

She heard a silent voice

After leaving Opal, Kendra Smith moved to the mountains of Northern California. She lived in a cabin with no electricity, growing her own food and training donkeys. Thomas Pynchon may be a neighbor. Smith had not retired from music, she just wanted to play her own music she on her own terms. She found a pump organ in a junk shop and started using that as her primary instrument (remember - no electricity). Smith also started playing a harmonium. Think Nico.

Four years after she left her last band, another record came out. This one was by a band called the Guild of Temporal Explorers. That’s some sort of reference to the stories of Michael Moorcock.

The six songs (and little bridging interludes) are every bit as good as the early Opal recordings. Jonah Corey & A. Phillip Uberman were other two explorers in the Guild, they had been together since right after Smith left Opal but chopping firewood is sometimes takes priority over rehearsing and recording. And maybe writing too, there’s a song by The Can here too. Kendra Smith has great taste in cover songs.

1995 was the last time we heard anything from Kendra Smith. She released a solo record called FIVE WAYS OF DISAPPEARING on 4AD Records. The record has several great songs and the first not-so-good ones in Kendra’s discography. Her voice still sounded great. A. Phillip Uberman produced the record with Smith and co-wrote half of the original songs. There's one cover, it was originally by Richard & Mimi Farina. Jonah Corey appears to have left the Guild. The other musicians on the record are either from the area around Smith’s mountain cabin or are pseudonyms (Lazlo Toth?).

Kendra Smith played one show in Los Angeles and an in-store appearance at a record store in New York City. She also recorded a song for a Joy Division tribute record.

There’s a nice Kendra Smith website from Germany, that hasn’t been updated since 1992. So is that it? Has Kendra Smith retired to the mountains forever?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

You've got the stars in your eyes

One of the stranger things Opal did was release an LP on SST Records. I never would have imagined that SST would put out a record by one of the Rain Parade guys. It’s a very good album. I really like the T. Rexy "Rocket Machine". Opal started a nationwide tour to back the LP but didn’t last long enough to finish the tour. Kendra didn’t like to tour. Or she was tired of David Roback’s perfectionism and the direction he wanted to take the band, it depends on who’s telling the story.

Rough Trade Records released a CD of the early Opal sessions right before they went bankrupt. Get it if you see a copy, it’s terrific, it’s getting hard to find for under fifty bucks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

She's A Diamond

Clay Allison was meant to be an outlet for the members to explore directions that they couldn’t go with their primary groups. David Roback was still in The Rain Parade but he started a band with Kendra and drummer Terry Graham. After a single was released, Graham decided to focus on the Gun Club and was replaced by Keith Mitchell from The Romans. The name Clay Allison was retired. The trio played some shows opening for The Rain Parade in 1984 but the members of that band decided that Roback was focusing too much on his new band and fired him. Or he quit, it depends on who’s telling the story

At some point, the band started using the name Opal. Romans guitarist Juan Gomez joined up too. Gomez had been (and still is!) in Human Hands with Dream Syndicate drummer Dennis Duck. There were several singles released on different labels in ’84 and ’85 that were hard to find. I remember looking at the back of every record in the new arrivals bin to see if the names Roback or Smith were there. The records were hard to find and I didn’t want to miss one if they changed the name of the band again.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Alle Morgen's Parties

The start of Fall always has me pulling out something by Kendra Smith so I thought I’d post something about her. She’s one of my favorite singers.

Kendra Smith was born in Virginia, 1960 and grew up in Germany. In the late seventies, Smith was going to school in Davis, CA, where she started a band with some other DJs at the college radio station. The band was called the Suspects, Kendra was the singer, Steve Wynn and Russ Tolman played guitar, Gavin Blair was the drummer and a guy named Steve Suchil was the bassist. The band stayed together until early 1980, releasing one single on their own label in 1979. None of them like the record now but I think it’s pretty good. The Suspects didn’t last long. Tolman and Blair stayed in Davis and started the fine band True West. Steve Suchil is now a lawyer, but it looks like he still plays music, playing shows with Barry Melton from Country Joe & The Fish.

Smith didn’t like being a singer but still wanted to play music so she started learning how to play bass. She moved to Los Angeles to take classes at UCLA. Steve Wynn had also moved to L.A. and was recording under the name 15 Minutes. They got together and recorded a version of “All Tomorrow’s Parties” (in German) and then started The Dream Syndicate. Kendra left that band after the first LP (she did sing one song) because it was becoming Steve Wynn’s show. She had started writing songs and moving in a different direction.

Around the same time that she left the Dream Syndicate, Kendra Smith sang two songs for David Roback’s RAINY DAY project, a good version of Buffalo Springfield’s “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong” and a powerful cover of Big Star's “Holocaust”.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Our Father...

Friday, October 07, 2005

I heard the warden say...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


The Subsonics have a new record! Get it!

Monday, October 03, 2005

All night long

About 10 years ago, I found this record in a box at the Limestone County Flea Market. The label had been worn down so badly that the record was just a 7” piece of dusty plastic. So I flipped the record over and there was just enough ink on one side to show label name –“AM” and the name of one song: “The Rooster”. That got my interest so I asked the dealer how much he wanted for the record. Since he couldn’t check the price guide, the old guy let me have it for free.

One side of the record was so dusty and scratched that I even think it sounds awful. And that's after I cleaned it. Fortunately, it wasn’t the side of the 45 with this song. It’s great!

I still didn’t know who the band was so I’ve been calling them “Mystery Artist”. But thanks to the internet, I know who they are! Two minutes on Google and I found out that the record is by a group called Gabriel & The Angels. The group did a few records in the early 60’s for Swan and Amy records. The Detroit Cobras covered a song called “Chumba”. There are a few compilations with other songs by Gabriel & The Angels but not “The Rooster”. Going by the stuff that is available, it looks like they were probably a doo-wop group, maybe from Pennsylvania. Anybody know anything more about them?

Sunday, October 02, 2005


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