Sunday, July 31, 2005

College Twist Party

The Carroll Brothers COLLEGE TWIST PARTY is one of my favorite junkstore record finds. Nobody has heard of the album or the band but everybody that loves Rock & Roll wants to go find a copy of the record when they hear it. I know of at least three people that have hunted down a copy of the LP after I played it for them.

The title lets you know exactly what to expect, The Carroll Brothers recorded the album at various frat parties around Pennsylvania. Their cover of "Last Night" is my favorite version of that song.

The Carroll Brothers formed in 1957 and starting in 1958 they recorded 5 singles before their one 1962 LP. I've never seen any of the singles. They also made a movie, playing Chubby Checker's band in Don't Knock The Twist.

BTW, all song titles are exactly as they appear on the record. The notes also mention the Carroll Brothers playing every 'faternity' on campus.

I don't know what happened to the Carroll Brothgers after 1962. I did find out that Seymour Duncan was a fan of Pete Carroll's guitar playing and that Phil Humphrey toured with the Carroll Brothers after he left the Fendermen.

Also, Pete Carroll was in several bands with a guy named George Featherman, who was also in a band called the Nu Tornadoes. Maybe someday I'll post something about that band.

Tell Him what you

Or maybe it's "Tell Him once". The words are kinda hard to understand.

I'm posting this in case you've only heard the recent stinky cover versions.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Flying Hye*

I found this record in a Goodwill store here in Huntsville and knew that I was not going to miss a chance to hear a song called “The Oud & The Fuzz”. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what an Oud is, I wanted to hear one with fuzz. Errrr, the cover helped me decide it was a keeper too. Oh yeah. Joe Beck provided the fuzz. He's a famous jazz guitarist.

But the cover and the album’s name are misleading, this is not music from the Middle East. Most of the songs are based on folk melodies from Eastern Europe. It says so right in the liner notes on the back cover. The band is safe from charges of false advertising; they are called John Berberian & the Rock East Ensemble. John Berberian is still playing. So is Joe Pass but neither one mention this great record on their websites.

* Hye = Armenian (It's a joke.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


This is Thirteen-One-Eleven’s only solo release. The 12" single came out on Jefferson Holt’s Dog Gone label in 1989. Thirteen-One-Eleven has been quiet since then: 'My Bible Is My Latest TV Guide was a once in a lifetime thing, but the spirit of 13111 will never die.'

Monday, July 25, 2005

What's a Vacel?

The Vacels started out as a Long Island Doo-Wop act called Ricky & The Vacels. They had a few earlier releases the Express & Fargo labels but I've never heard those. The band dropped the 'Ricky &', added some horns and signed to Kama Sutra Records in 1965. "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window" was the band's second single for the new label. The Vacels beat Bob Dylan's single of the same song to the stores by several months. I wonder how they heard it?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Summer rerun

By request, here's a post from last February:
I don't know when "Prying Eyes" & "Law Of Averages" were recorded but they first showed up on a UK compilation called SHAKE TO DATE. It's a collection of singles released on Shake records, a label run by Alan Betrock. But it looks like these two songs never got released anywhere else.

And here's a bonus track!

Babylon's fallen

To rise no more

Friday, July 22, 2005


This was the last track that DMZ recorded during the sessions for the only album they ever recorded. As the song ends, you'll hear why. Right after the last chord, you can hear Paul Murphy drop his drumsticks. According to DMZ singer Mono Man, Murphy broke his wrist during the recording of the song, bringing the sessions to an abrupt end.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Put 'em in the pot and let 'em steam

This is a record that I got out of a box of 45's at the Limestone County Flea Market, I found a Feminine Complex 45 in the same stack of records. Anyway, I knew I was going to have to get this record because Robin (the previous owner - she signed the record) had put four shiny silver star stickers on the label. This was a 45 that was not going back in the box.

"Chicken-Backs" is a monster! I love this song. What a great sax part and the guitar is really good too. It was written by H. Hill-J. Hill-Tamales which is kinda weird. Why didn't they put "Hot" in the credits? Side two, "Join In The Fun" was written by Kirby-Thompson-Houston so I guess those were the last names of some of the other Hot Tamales. Robin must not have liked it as much, there's an 'X' on this label.

These songs sound like they're from the late 60's to me. It looks like this was the first release on Supreme Records, it's number 101.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Arty and/or obscure

In the mid 80’s, every college town in America had one or two R.E.M. and/or Echo & The Bunnymen influenced bands in the mid-eighties. They always had an arty and/or obscure name and put out a record with a black & white and/or blurry photo on the cover. Even Greenland made sure that Tuscaloosa, Alabama didn’t miss the arty and/or obscure boat.

Even Greenland was formed in late ’84 by Dan Hall and Rob Trucks and some other guys. Not listing the names of the band members is a key part of being arty and/or obscure. This is the only record that the band ever did, it’s the only one I’ve ever seen anyway. Tim Lee and Randy Everett recorded it and the 45 was released it on Big Monkey Records in 1985.

Most of the arty and/or obscure bands had members that went on to bigger things. Dan Hall drums for the Woggles as Dan Electro. They’re on tour right now and you should go see him play if you get the chance. Shout out a request for this song. Dan wrote it.

There’s an writer named Rob Trucks that looks to be about the right age and is from Alabama. I'm pretty sure it's the same guy, he went to UA and says that Will Kimbrough is his buddy. Will, Rob, and Dan had a pre-Greenland band called Cows In Love.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ukelele Bennie

By the time Benjamin Keakahiawa Nawahi was fifteen, he had taught himself how to play slack key guitar and was playing for tourists in the parks around Honolulu. Before he was twenty, Bennie had joined his brothers band – The Hawaiian Novelty Five – and was playing professionally on passenger ships traveling between Hawaii and California. The band impressed Sid Grauman, who booked them to tour the United States.

The successful tour led Bennie to go solo, calling himself the "King of the Ukulele". Nawahi, who could play also play mandolin and a one-string cigar-box fiddle, is reported to have been a great performer. He would play the ukelele behind his head and another of his tricks was playing steel guitar with his foot controlling the slide.

King Bennie recorded for numerous labels, including Columbia, Victor and live Grey Gull (what a great name). He had his own band, King Nawahi and The International Cowboys. Early in his career, Roy Rogers was one of those International Cowboys. Nawahi also recorded jazz, blues and country records.

In 1935, King Bennie Nawahi suddenly went blind and doctors never were able to find the cause. Blindness didn’t slow him down; Nawahi kept playing clubs and restaurants in California. In 1946, Nawahi became the first (only?) blind man to swim the 22 miles between San Pedro and Catalina Island. He used the sound of a bell hanging from the back of a boat as a guide.

King Bennie kept playing for the next forty years. He died in early 1985.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Just like an automobile.

Because I just spent five hours in a car.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Last Post

I planned on posting this last week but decided to hold it for a little while. Here it is:

The Last formed in Los Angeles in 1976 and had a great string of singles before recording their ’78 debut LP for Bomp! Records. The band must’ve really liked this song, it got to used as a B-side for two singles in a row. The records got local airplay and the band played some shows that got the attention of Greg Shaw, who released L.A. EXPLOSION!, the bands first (and best) album. Because the early 45’s were released by the band on their own Backlash label, some of the songs were recorded under less than ideal conditions. The album recordings sound good but they don’t have the same energy. And remember that the L.A. EXPLOSION is widely regarded as a near-perfect debut LP.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

There's a universe waiting to be free

I've been busy. Barbara Manning's cover of Amon Duul II's song about Joan of Arc has been making me happy lately.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Everybody likes revenge...

I know you like a good country revenge ballad, and here's a doozy. While the Beatles were bullshitting around with the pot-fueled tale of one Rocky Raccoon, Neil Innes (Ron Nasty) and the rest of the Bonzos came out with this. (Extra points for including the word "seborrhea.")

The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, "Bad Blood." (sorry, 10 megs.)

Jordan River, Deep & Wide

The Guitar Evangelist recorded this driving song for Vocalion Records in the late Twenties.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Free Flaming Lips CD

"All who can are urged to copy it and put it on the Internet and do whatever you can do with it. Please, please do not pay hard-earned money for it." - Kevin Coyne

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Spread The Good Word

Reverend Frost from the always great Spread The Good Word recorded a version of "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and it's available over at Big Rock Candy Mountain. Go give it a listen. It's good.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Advertising signs that con you/Into thinking you're the one

Do I care that Starbucks is the exclusive distributor of a Bob Dylan CD? Not really, the GASLIGHT TAPES have been available for years if anybody wanted to look for them and you can be sure that the ones complaining loudest already have a copy. I have a feeling that if Dylan didn’t want this to happen, it would not be happening. He’s already licensed songs to Apple Computers and the Bank of Montreal.
Anyway, Starbucks is a step up (a tiny step) from doing commercials for Victoria’s Secret. And didn’t Victoria’s Secret have an exclusive Dylan CD around the same time?

My wife likes the GASLIGHT TAPES because Dylan seems to have misplaced his harmonica.

Big Al

R.I.P. Down On The Farm

"Big" Al Downing, a singer-songwriter and pianist who had success in country, rockabilly, rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll and even disco, died Monday after suffering from leukemia. He was 65. Downing, of Leicester, Mass., was hospitalized last week and died in Massachusetts, his publicist Martha Moore said Tuesday. He was one of the few successful black country artists. Downing began his career as a keyboard player in rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson's band, performing on Jackson's biggest hit, "Let's Have a Party." As a solo artist, he and his band the Chartbusters were on the charts with two rock songs in 1964. A soul duet with Little Esther Phillips made the charts in 1963, and a disco record charted in 1975, according to the Country Music Association's Encyclopedia of Country Music. Downing, a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, performed "Mr. Jones" on the Grand Ole Opry in May. Over the years, his songs were recorded by Fats Domino, Bobby Blue Bland, Tom Jones and Webb Wilder.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"So part of the roots of Ska music is from America"

"In the '50s we used to listen to American rhythm & blues from New Orleans. Everybody used to dance to that music in Jamaica, but in the '50s our music there was Calypso, which come from Trinidad, and we took Calypso and mixed it with the rhythm & blues and we turned that into Ska. So part of the roots of Ska music is from America. & Ska music is American rhythm & blues and Jamaican calypso and it went from there - that's where Ska come from. We used to listen to men like Smiley Lewis, Joe Turner, Rosco Gordon, and all these guys in the '50s and we were influenced, I was influenced, by Rosco Gordon because he played a downbeat boogie. Rosco Gordon is an American black singer and I was influenced by him. Not only me, but other guys during that time was influenced by him because it was very popular - the boogie-woogie stuff. And as I said, we mixed the boogie-woogie stuff with calypso and that's where Ska came from, as simple as that." - Laurel Aiken

Monday, July 04, 2005

Going Faster Miles An Hour

The Modern Lovers recorded three demos of Road Runner during the early 70’s, once with John Cale producing and two times with Kim Fowley. I like the way the words change from version to version. After Jonathan Richman broke up the Modern Lovers, he recorded a very different version of the song for a 45 that was released by Beserkley Records in 1977. Which one is best? All of them! It’s the best “Sister Ray” re-write ever!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Shine, shine, shine

I know it's mine.
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