I can never get enough of the obscure, psychedelic sounds of Rubble, the twenty-volume Nuggets-inspired “freakbeat” and “pop sike” compilations from Bam Caruso Records and Phil Lloyd-Smee. If you like Nuggets or the British Nuggets II, there’s not a lot of overlap. I love all the Nuggets comps, too, but I’d give the Rubble collections the edge just because they required even more dedicated crate-digging. I think the effort was worth it.
One group I discovered on a Rubble comp is The Mirror, a British beat group who apparently reached the lower rungs of the German pop market as they made the scene on The Beat Club TV show with their song, “Gingerbread Man.”
Talk about your pure pop perfection, “Who Do You Think You Are?” was a 1974 hit that topped the charts in the UK for a (quasi-comedy) band called Candlewick Green, who first came to the public’s attention by winning the TV talent show, Opportunity Knocks for eight consecutive weeks. It was actually written by Des Dyer and Clive Scott of the band Jigsaw, who recorded the song, but both groups shared the same management, and Dyer and Scott allowed the song to be recorded by Candlewick Green for the UK market. (Jigsaw had their own one hit wonder with “Sky High,” one of the first 45s I ever bought). Both versions are pretty similar, and shared the same arrangement.
Americans know the version by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, who also had a hit with the maudlin 70s AM radio staple “Billy Don’t Be A Hero.” The Heywoods used to perform in amusement parks all over America in the 70s. I recall seeing them when I was a kid at either Cedar Point, or King’s Island.
I could play this song over and over again for weeks! The tune is ridiculously catchy no matter who is performing it, but I’d give the Jigsaw version the edge over both the Candlewick Green and the Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods versions. Still, the BEST version was the cover that St. Etienne did in 1993. An off-album track, it struck exactly the right tone with its mix of their “retro modernist” electro-soul sound and Sarah Cracknell’s almost spoken vocal. I saw them perform this song on two consecutive nights in Manhattan in 1994 and it was a special highlight of their live show.
Below, St. Etienne performing “Who Do You Think You Are” on TOTP in 1993, with the always gorgeous Sarah Cracknell looking especially marvelous here:
Marvel at the patented Jabberwocky wordplay of Pete “The Mad Daddy” Myers on “What is a Fisteris?” Myers was a rock and roll radio madman of the late 50s and 60s in Cleveland and New York. He killed himself in 1968, despondent over professional problems.
“Fisterises like pretty girls named Ingaborg with silver snoopers in their hair, sometimes moping about the snurds and limrocks they’ve loved and lost, sobbing big teedle-dools. Like everyone, they dislike artichokes for breakfast when the bumblebugger’s gone.”
In what is beyond the shadow of a doubt UK pop crooner Paul Young’s finest moment I have somehow found the mythical and difficult to obtain Dangerous Minds toaster post. I guess this was a top 20 hit in Blighty back in ‘78. Fine topic for a tune,really. Any song wherein actual toast is used as an instrument is just fine by me. Every time you go away you take a piece of toast with you.
Looks like it’s mid-60’s day at Dangerous Minds. So be it ! Here’s both sides of this moody/self-loathing/noisy/lysergic 1967 single from Minneapolis band The Calico Wall. Looks like there’s next to no information about this anywhere, but have a listen to this glowering beast. It’s perfect for the rainy day here in Los Angeles
In the future there will be no love, sex will be provided by robots… and we’ll all be listening to eurodisco: “Automatic Lover” a worldwide hit for Dee D. Jackson in 1978. Apparently, the robot vocals are courtesy of another one hit wonder, Baltimora (“Tarzan Boy”).
A lovely vintage psych-bossa dream-popper for the waning days of summer, this is evidently The Critters operating under a suitably groovy pseudonym. The layered harmonies are scientifically engineered to accompany the watching of girls as they walk by dressed in their summer clothes until your darkness goes.
This languid and dreamy, heavily phase-shifted late period mid-tempo disco masterpiece was released on the storied Casablanca Records label in 1979 by one Dennis Parker, better known as ill-fated porn and soap opera actor Wade Nichols. I guess the below clip is a fairly recent discovery which offers not only an oddly affecting melodramatic performance from Parker, er Nichols but also a gorgeous look at late 70’s mid-town Manhattan.