Well, as my catalog is building, I’m running across some tracks where the albums are impossible to find streaming. Either they’re totally out of print, were never released digitally, or never were on an album to begin with. Most of the time they’re on various artist compilations or I went digging around the underworld of the internet to find them. (I think I wrecked the sound card driver of an old laptop thanks to these torrent or .rar sites originating from Eastern Europe. Live and learn.)
So, here’s a list of those tracks that I recommend finding and adding to your collection, depending on your tastes or judgement. NOTE: If all an artist has are ‘remakes’ (scams as I call them), then I don’t count those as real songs or albums and they’d wind up here.
A-440 – “Torture”. This nihilistic garage rock song has somewhat melodic bridges in between snarled verses. It’s groovy, despite the theme.
The Aardvarks – “You’re My Loving Way”. There is a 60’s band named Aardvarks, but this is the UK garage band revival group from the 80’s and 90’s, though they could definitely have fit in the 60’s. The organ line makes this rather infectious.
Acid Green – “Nucleus”, “Frog”, “Buddy”. These songs were on some Indianapolis area compilations I got in the early 90’s. I think they may have self-released cassettes and have one 45 that seemed to go semi-national in the underground world. They were a sight to see, with music that is grungy / stoner metal (circa 1992) and Gym Stouffer, the singer, wailing like a madman and going through three octaves.
Actress – ‘It’s What You Give”. Lots of UK bands had a deal where they’d release one single that was make or break. A lot of them broke after one hit. This had an interesting melody and neat cellos. But CBS said, “nah”.
The Adrissi Brothers – “Time to Love”, “We’ve Got to Get It On Again”, “Slow Dancin’ Don’t Turn Me On”. These brothers had a long career full of a few hits and a few songs that made them their bones via other groups. (“Never My Love” for one.) They kind of chased trends instead of setting them, but still made some great fluff.
Adam’s Recital – “No Place for Lonely People”. I bet they’re French (no, wait, Belgian). They did a nice job, though with the whole garage / psychedelic rock sound and the bass is delectably mixed high and the nice little semi-drum roll at the beginning is groovy, too. (I’m sure there’s a technical name for that, but, I’ll go with that.)
The Aliis – “The Sound of Children”. They were Don Ho’s backing group from Hawaii, but once in a while got a chance to record their own stuff. This is a definite lost sunshine pop classic of a single that was a promo only and not featured on their 1968 album.
Alley Cats – “Nothing Means Nothing Anymore”, “Gimme a Little Pain” – This was a Dangerhouse Records single, and they parlayed that into an appearance on the fantastic URGH! A Music War documentary. They couldn’t capitalize on that, mainly because even if their sound wasn’t that harsh (more of punkabilly at times), their lyrics were dark, dark, dark.
The American Breed – “Bend Me, Shape Me”, “Private Zoo”. For some G_D reason, the American Breed doesn’t have anything out there except sketchy re-recordings or stuff on various artist compilations. At any rate, I’d love to hear an album called Pumpkin, Powder, Scarlet & Green. BTW – “Private Zoo” I got from someone who ripped it from a 45. Can anyone get the ACTA Records masters and do this band justice?
Angel – “Good Time Fanny”. No, not Punky Meadows’ Angel, but a glam rock band from the UK. Any resemblance to Sweet is intentional, since two members of the band managed and produced them, and wrote this single.
The Bad Roads – “Blue Girl”. All it takes for me is a razor sharp fuzz guitar and I’m hooked on a track. This Louisiana garage rock band had a big following down there, but only a couple of singles ever escaped to the public.
The Bad Seeds – “King of the Soap Box”. No, not Nick Cave’s group, nor the Texas band with a few singles on J-Beck, but a 60’s garage band from Northern Kentucky that had this single on Columbia, and pfft. Find it, though.
Band Aid – “Do They Know It’s Christmas” – I can still identify each and every singer, even those that time forgot. And Bono’s gonna Bono.
The Benders – “Can’t Tame Me” – One of those great 60’s garage rock one off singles that seemingly were in every city in the US. This bunch from Wisconsin had a hot A-side with this number, including the requisite burning fuzz guitar solo. The B-side was lame, and they drifted off to do whatever teenagers and 20 somethings did in 1966. Probably went to Vietnam or college.
The Birds – “Say Those Magic Words”, “No Good Without You Baby”. They were cursed by bad name luck (they were originally the Thunderbirds, but shortened it, and welp, that American group came over to the UK) and a manager that tried to sue the Byrds instead of promote the group. It’s a shame, because they had a great sound, a little raw like the early Who. Ronnie Wood was in the group and later joined the Creation and then Jeff Beck after this bunch blew apart. You may remember them in The Deadly Bees on MST3K.
Black Haze Express – “Won’t Nobody Listen”. Singer Sam Dees, who never really made it as a performer, tried his hand at leading a funk band and released this funky little single in 1971 to as much success as he had before. It’s a shame, because this is a groovy cut. Dees later found success as a songwriter, but nothing was as funky as this.
The Blow Pops – “Cleveland”. There are some eras where the transition of formats left some bands behind. The move from vinyl to CD in the mid-80’s, and the move from CD to MP3 and streaming in the 2000’s. Independent artists sometimes lost out in those moves, and the Blow Pops’ great 1990’s power pop CDs aren’t streaming now. Keep an eye out. I thankfully had someone send this infectious tune to me.
The Bluestars – “Social End Product”. Even New Zealand had groups embracing the garage rock style. Three singles were all they got, but if this track is any indication they must have been burning up the club scene.
The Brains – “Money Changes Everything”. A hit when Cyndi Lauper covered it, it caused few ripples in 1980 when it was released. They had a great pedigree, well regarded and a Steve Lillywhite production. But this seems all that is left, and you gotta really dig to find it.
Brute Force – “The Deacon”. It’s kind of a shame this was buried in 1970. Soulful horns, funky groove, and they were tight. Can’t find it now, but it’s ripe for a re-release.
Brute Force – “The King of Fuh”. Another artist went by the same name as above at nearly the same time. This was actually Stephen Friedland, a songwriter and member of the Tokens. Friedland recorded this simple double entendre (‘everyone called him the fuh King’), and somehow John Lennon and George Harrison got wind of it. Harrison overdubbed some strings, and it was put out by Apple Records as a single. The US arm didn’t release it though, leaving Lennon to spread some not-so-peaceful words to the head of US operations. Really, it’s just an excuse to say ‘fuh king’ over and over again.
William Bollinger – “You Can Lead Your Woman to the Altar”. A slice of Memphis soul released by Chess Records. It didn’t chart, but it’s a great hidden gem of a track. He sang his entire life in Chicago and Memphis, and this track is a good legacy.
Daniel Boone – “Beautiful Sunday”. The guitar hook, the chorus with the tom-toms, and the jaunty melody – all the perfect recipe for a 70’s hit. Oh, and the modulation at the end didn’t hurt, either. He had a few hits in the UK, two songs that scraped the very bottom of the Hot 100 in the US, and faded away. What’s streaming now are re-makes, unfortunately.
Bulldog – “No”. I scandalized Mrs. Linn’s class in first grade at New Market Elementary by bringing this song in as part of a K-Tel album, as the lyrics contained “hell” in them. Oooooh! The drummer and guitarist for the Rascals were part of the band, and produced this, which seems to be the only thing anywhere by them. With a band name like that, and a song title like that, Googling them on the interwebs ain’t easy.
Bulldog Breed – “Paper Man”. Musicians from various bands found their way together and formed this short lived UK psychedelic rock band, right on time for the genre to be out of favor. This is a catchy bit of fun from their only album that’s long gone.
Burning Sensations – “Belly of the Whale”. This was an MTV hit in the early days, and while the album stiffed and to my knowledge was deleted from the catalog and never released on CD, the song lives on thanks to some New Wave CD comps. It’s just a catchy earworm and showed the power of the medium that a relatively obscure and unknown song could become a video hit.
C & The Shells – “You Are the Circus”. A B-side from an obscure R&B vocal released in 1969? Sure, why not. Sometimes lightning strikes. Sometimes the effect of the lightning isn’t felt until later. Thanks to the Beg, Scream and Shout box set from Rhino, many were struck by this almost perfect single.
The California Gold Rush – “Let’s Get It on Today”. This is probably a studio group. The A-side of this single was called “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” which was a cover of something that hit in the UK and the world in 1971 by the band Middle of the Road. That didn’t break the states, though. The B-side, this track, it…well..awesome. Not really bubblegum at all but great pop / rock with a funky beat and neat things going on all around. It needs to be found again; I got this from a madman who gave me about a zillion mix CDs.
Captain Groovy & His Bubblegum Army – “Captain Groovy & His Bubblegum Army”. A perfect piece of bubble gum music, this was the theme song for a cartoon show that never made it past the drawing board. The same production team that did the Ohio Express, 1910 Fruitgum Company, etc. were the masterminds behind this.
Cargoe – “Feel Alright” and “I Love You Anyway”. I was tempted to put this on my missing in action list, since these two tracks were on the Ardent Record collection. They’re pretty perfect power pop. All that’s out there is a live album and a 2010 recording. These are from 1972, and if Ardent had any distribution these guys and Big Star would have been all over the radio. The harmonies from these guys make my knees quiver. Someone needs to cover “Feel Alright”, and I mean NOW!
The Cedars – “For Your Information”. Back in the day, Beirut was a popular hangout for the rich and famous and this group sprung from that time of peace and opulence. They wound up in London and recorded a couple of singles that did combine some middle-eastern sounds with typical 60’s British rock.
The Charlatans – “32/20”. Is it just me, or did a lot of band names from the 60’s get re-used? Arguably, this group of Virginia City / San Francisco hippie folkies were ground zero for the San Francisco scene in the 60’s, but never really recorded anything that was released until 1969, a bit after their sell by date. It’s a shame because they did some neat old-timey blues for the hippies.
Chickasaw Mudd Puppies – “Do You Remember”. A stray cut from 8 Track Stomp that someone gifted me, the Mudd Puppies were orbiting in the REM circles in Athens and Michael Stipe produced this. It’s a fun song and memorable.
The Choir – “It’s Cold Outside”. Cleveland’s finest in 1967. They released some singles, and this one was a minor hit. Later, they combined with fellow Clevelanders Cyrus Erie, which featured Eric Clapton. Thus, the Raspberries were born. This is another band hard to find, mainly because of their name.
Cock Robin – “When Your Heart Is Weak”. I don’t quite understand why this has been so hard to find online. I got a digital copy somewhere, but it’s not streaming, at least not the original album. It may be on a compilation buried deep in the bowels of Google Play or Spotify. They were big in Flemish Belgium, so that’s something!
Roger Collins – “She’s Looking Good”. Collins is active to this day, and what’s streaming are re-makes and his later effort. This blast of Oakland soul had a great stamp of endorsement, as the great Wilson Pickett covered it.
Chi Coltrane – “Thunder & Lightning”. Every female blues-type singer was ‘the next Joplin’ much like any folkie with a guitar and harmonica was ‘the next Dylan’. Coltrane was hyped, but didn’t do much besides this Top 20 hit.
Brian Connell & the Roundsound – “Just Another Wedding Day”. A single by a group who may have had more success in the Netherlands than anywhere else. They gigged around and had this one record released in the UK. It’s a jaunty track with some neat harmonies, a time signature change, and trumpets. Find it if you can.
The Count Five – “Psychotic Reaction” – World famous, as it’s been comped and soundtracked forever. It’s also a spot on imitation of a Yardbirds’ rave-up. If you haven’t, go find Lester Bangs’ great article about the faux discography of the band (they really just released one album).
The Crawdaddies – “I Can Never Tell”. Not to be confused with a current band from the East Coast, this was a garage revivalist band formed in San Diego in the 70’s. This is from an EP, and was collected on the Children of Nuggets collection by Rhino. It sounds like it came from 1965 or so.
Cuby + The Blizzards – “Your Body Not Your Soul”. A hot slice of Dutch mid-60’s rock from a band that deserves a compilation that’s available in the US. Smokin’!
Cult Hero – “I’m a Cult Hero”, “I Dig You”. Psst, it’s really the cure with a postman singing lead and others helping out. It was a way to test to see if Robert Smith could play with Simon Gallup and Mattthieu Hartley. It’s goofy, something the Cure wasn’t at the time.
Dantalion’s Chariot – “The Madman Running Through the Fields”. Holy shit, this is great, and obscure! Zoot Money and Andy Summers were featured in this psychedelic band that had a great light show, a great look (wearing all white robes and kaftans), and one solitary single credited to them. They were dropped after this (Zoot Money was supposed to play jazz and R&B, you know, not this psychedelic crap). Another company signed them, rejected the album (and released it as a Zoot Money album later) and that’s it, with Summers then joining the Animals. You need to hear THIS song – THIS is what the psychedelic London movement was in one little package.
Teri DeSario – “Yes I’m Ready”. This is a great 70’s era ballad duet with KC (of Sunshine Band fame). In reality, she was a disco singer for the most part, but then wanted to be a rock singer and that record bombed.
Detroit Sex Machines – “The Stretch”. High-school kids from Detroit blazed some funky soul on an obscure 45 that was dug up and re-issued for us all on a great collection called Cold Heat. The groove is tight, and the sax solo is actually interesting. The record may have a couple of pops in it, but who cares if it’s this outta site!
Tracey Dey – “Gonna Get Along Without You Now”. No relation to Susan. Dey was a B-team Leslie Gore that had a few minor hits. This was the most major of her minor hits at #51 in 1964, and the arrangement is kind of what got me – the guitar lines aren’t typical for that genre.
Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods – “Billy Don’t Be a Hero”, “Who Do You Think You Are”. Copping two songs from UK groups (Paper Lace and Jigsaw, respectively) gained them their only successes. They then went away, slowly. By the way, Donaldson led the band but wasn’t the singer, in case you needed to win a bar bet.
The Dynamic Superiors – “Shoe Shoe Shine”. A mid-70’s Motown act that resembled the Stylistics more than Motown would admit. This is a fantastic slow ballad from Ashford and Simpson featuring the high tenor of Tony Washington. Washington was openly gay, and at times dressed in drag on stage. By 1975, that wasn’t as shocking as it would have been earlier.
The 8th Day – “She’s Not Just Another Woman”. There wasn’t really a separate group called The 8th Day, not really. The Holland-Dozier-Holland production team didn’t want to take away sales from the 100 Proof Aged in Soul single that was on the charts. Many people were playing the B-side (this song), so they just released the same song under the name The 8th Day, then released another album when it hit #11 in the country.
The Elastik Band – “Spazz”. Political correctness ain’t new. This great garage-rock single was a victim of well-meaning folks who thought the term spazz would be offensive to the developmentally challenged or hyperactive. So, this is about all that’s left of them. It’s great and catchy, and on the Nuggets box set. NOTE: There’s an Welsh group from the same vintage called the Elastic Band. Not the same.
The Eyes – “When the Night Falls”, “I’m Rowed Out” – A mod beat group from the UK that had a few tasty singles, but didn’t quite hit the big time. “I’m Rowed Out” has a riff eerily similar to “I Can’t Explain” by the Who.
Fapardokly – “Super Market”, “Tomorrow’s Girl” – Psychedelic folk-rock from a band that was really Merrill and the Xiles, as the group was led by the itinerant and cult guitarist Merrill Fankhauser.
The Fortunes – “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again”, “You’ve Got Your Troubles” – BEWARE! Re-recordings afoot! There are legit versions of these two songs on various artist packages, but most everything are re-recordings that sound way too crisp and clean and sterile to be recorded in the 60’s.
John Fred & His Playboy Band – “Judy in Disguise with Glasses”. Fred had two passions – music and basketball. He was good enough at basketball to play at LSU and SE Louisiana, and was good enough in music to record this infectious ditty. Alas, he was undone by being termed a ‘novelty’ and then had label and royalty issues, thus making this hard to find.
The Game – “Gonna Get Me Someone”. Not the rapper, but a 60’s garage band from the UK who released a few singles on Decca in the 60’s with minimal luck, but it was a crowded marketplace.
Giorgio – “Son of My Father”. Giorgio Moroder went by his first name when he was a solo artist in the 60’s and 70’s. He was a pioneer in electronic music and production, but his songs were mostly puerile and juvenile. This one, though, has a great synthesizer hook and is a great pop confection. It hit #46 in the States and is on some non-streaming collections if you are inclined. If you’re British, you know this song due to Chicory Tip releasing a very similar version.
The Glory Rhodes – “Can We Go to the City”. A New Orleans band that released four or five singles over their lifetime. This one was bequeathed to me on a bubblegum mix and is poppy, yet a little more sophisticated than bubblegum. I’d try to find it and more by them.
The Goatdancers – “Patches of Dust”. Memphis wasn’t just about soul and the blues. Ok, it mostly was until Big Star came along, but somehow the town produced the Goatdancers, a psychedelic rock outfit that hit the recording studio a few times, but never released anything on vinyl. This track is definitely a trip, man.
Binky Griptite & The Mellomatics – “The Stroll, Part 2”. Outtasite track from the great Daptone Gold compilation. Griptite is the guitarist for the Dap-Kings, so he’s got legitimacy. It’s too funky.
Arthur Gunter – “Baby Let’s Play House” – Elvis covered this, but the original has a real authentic Delta / Memphis blues acoustic blues feel and Gunter has a surprisingly smooth voice.
Haysi Fantayzee – “Shiny Shiny”. This f-n earworm came to us via the UK and MTV. It’s puerile, vapid, and catchy as hell. Somehow this hit #74. Somehow you can’t find a damn thing by them streaming.
Helen Shields – “My Ride”. Another one from Indy comps. They were a fun band, coming together from early Indy legends Jot and Bitch Head. They really needed more recordings.
Elvis Hitler – “Live Fast, Die Young” & “Green Haze, Pts. 1 & 2” – A punk rock psycho-billy band (they coined the term “Hellbilly”, fine, whatever guys) had one great idea (singing the theme of Green Acres to “Purple Haze” – though others may have done that too). The other song I have was the only other song that was worth keeping around. Their stuff isn’t streaming as far as I can find, but to be honest I really didn’t break the search engines for it.
Eddie Holland – “Leaving Here” – A huge favorite for the British beat bands, this scorcher from Holland, part of the famous Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting / production team, should have established him as a performer. The drums on this cut are outstanding.
Honey Cone – “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” – For the life of me, I don’t get why there’s a dearth of great soul from the early 70’s streaming. Invictus – Hot Wax must be owned by something or other, right? Stream ’em!
The Hudson Brothers – “Rendezvous”. They really tried to become stars. They really did, but except for a few stray hits here and there. I think the big problem is that they tried to be both comedians and musicians, and fans were confused. Catchy hits, though.
The Iketttes – “I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)”. This song was written by Ike Turner to fill studio time, and Tina Turner helped arrange it. The Ikettes did a spirited performance for their only hit as a stand-alone trio, and it spawned a great deal of covers.
It’s OK! – “Wishing”. From the Freedom of Choice compilation, something still in print, where 90’s bands covered 80’s songs. Groovy fuzzy bass work from Ellen Rooney (who later joined the reunion-ed Bangles and Go-Go’s replacing their reluctant bass players).
Deon Jackson – “Love Makes the World Go Round”. A number 11 hit in 1966, this was his only real US hit. He had a lot more success in the UK, but nothing else is streaming here.
Jimmy James – “A Man Like Me”. His group The Vagabonds were popular in the UK during the late 60’s and early 70’s in the soul genre, packing houses wherever they went. However, that didn’t translate to record sales. This was a solo effort released in late 1971 that is just fabulous, if not a bit retro even for 1971. Still, crickets.
Gloria Jones – “Tainted Love”. By now, everyone knows the song, and her version of it has gotten a lot of run as a great lost soul classic. It is, for sure. However, it was hidden on a B-side on original release back in 1964, and discovered years later by UK Northern Soul hipsters.
Keith – “98.6”. Keith had three top-40 hits in the 60’s, but this is all everyone remembers. For some reason his two follow up albums are streaming, but this isn’t. It’s on a 60’s Gold compilation though if you’re into kinda psychedelic kiddie pop.
Kempy & the Guardians – “Love for a Price”. A Texas band (lot of them here) that had some local reputation, enough to record a couple of singles. Another record with a guitar solo worth the price of admission.
Kit & the Outlaws – “Don’t Tread on Me”. Many times, a band would cover a popular track on the A-side, and the B-side would be something more original, and usually a better effort. Definitely the case here.
The Looking Glass – “Silver & Sunshine”. No, not the band that did “Brandy”, but a sunshine pop act featuring two sisters and one of their husbands from Sacramento (as 45Cat says) that released one single on Valiant (and released an earlier one as the West Winds).
The Loot – “Try to Keep It a Secret”. Six different singles were released, and no albums legitimately released. It could be a nightmare to gather all of the rights for their records since they were on at least four labels in the UK. This, though, was their last gasp, and shows why they should have been bigger.
Love & Kisses – “I’ve Found Love (Now That I’ve Found You)”, “Thank God It’s Friday”. You know the movie theme for Thank God It’s Friday? Well, now you know who performed it. Their first “album” was two songs, including “I’ve Found Love”, extended to about 17 minutes each.
M/A/R/R/S – “Pump Up the Volume” – The ultimate one-hit wonder. This was a one-off collaboration between A. R. Kane and Colourbox on 4AD Records. It was a world-wide smash, and both acts went on to do other things.
Bobby Martin – “For the Love of Him” – A nice piece of orchestrated adult pop (a Tom Jones type of joint) from the early 70’s. The rhymes are a bit odd, but that’s cool. Now the lyrics, though, seem to be a Quiverfull anthem.
The Marauders – “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” – A nice piece of garage rock from 1966, released and the forgotten. According to Discogs, several other groups used that name, but this is present on a few garage rock comps so it may be easy to find.
Maurice & Mac – “You Left the Water Running”. They were Chess Records Sam & Dave, except they didn’t get a hit record for some reason. However, this song is an absolute scorcher. Wilson Pickett was among the first to release a version, and Otis Redding also recorded a demo that was later released. But this is probably the version to find, if you can.
The Messengers – “That’s the Way a Woman Is”. They were popular in the Detroit area and in Milwaukee, but the few singles and albums that trickled out didn’t hit at all, and this is the only one of their tracks people seem to have around. A knock-off group, Mike & the Messengers DID get some traction with “Romeo & Juliet”.
The Motions – “For Another Man”. Some nice Beatle-esque sounds from this Dutch band. The Netherlands were hot spots for beat music, and many bands were great emulators.
The Motorcycle Abilene – “(You Used to) Ride So High” – A ‘band’ in name only. It was a moniker used by Warren Zevon and Bones Howe to record demos early in their career. I don’t know if was actually released or just was a promo or only a demo. Still, it’s groovy.
The Mummies – “Test Drive”. Great neo-garage sound. However, they’ve only released one record on CD (everything else is on vinyl except their contributions to compilations), which has definitely limited their reach.
The Munx – “Our Dream”. One of those singles that just sounds great no mattet what mood you’re in. This is a great piece of psychedelic sunshine pop that was popular enough to get them a national distribution, but didn’t give them a sustainable career. It was 2 1/2 minutes of magic, though.
The New Breed – “Want Ad Reader”. Hanna-Barbera formed a record company mostly to release music from their cartoons, but they released some obscure garage-type singles as well. This Northern California band sounded a little like the Seeds crossed with the Beau Brummels or something like that.
October Country – “My Girlfriend Is a Witch” . Maybe it was a bit too late in the psychedelic garage craze to be a big national hit, but this is probably the perfect example of how great that sound could be. Great fuzz, fantastic bass, intriguing organ, and a chorus that has some neat syncopation.
Alan O’Day – “Undercover Angel”. A definite one-hit wonder. The versions I found streaming are re-recordings, and lack the ‘charm’ of the 70’s synthesizers.
The Orange Humble Band – “Fanclub Requiem”. They were (are) an Aussie power-pop band with links to the Lime Spiders and other revivalists down there. This is so good, so delicious – it’s a shame this isn’t here on the US services. They reformed in 2012 and released an album, but they still qualify here since I don’t normally cotton to revivals.
The Outcasts -“I’m in Pittsburgh (And It’s Raining). Another group with a name shared by a jillion other bands, and it seems kind of generic garage rock until the guitar solo, which kicks it into another dimension, but it’s too short! Ah, well.
The Oxfords – “Don’t Be a Dropout”. It may be a corny sentiment for a rough, tough garage band, but they do some nice harmonies through the song.
Pauls Collection – “Man”. Kind of a mix between the garage rock era and psychedelic pop, this Belgian outfit wrote this song ‘about a funny little man in the crowd’, which was a gnome. Or a person they saw while tripping in Antwerp.
Danny Pearson – “What’s Your Sign Girl”. An all-time classic soul song, no matter the era. This was somehow ignored by the pop markets in 1978 (it wasn’t disco, perhaps) but hit pretty well on the R&B chart. I heard Alex Chilton cover this, and loved it, so I needed to find the original. Pearson sings like an angel, and Barry White’s production is impeccable. It’s sad he didn’t get another chance.
Pink Nasty – “Mordecai”. Three albums have all disappeared. Her real name is Sara Back, but there’s another singer by that name.
The Playmates – “Beep Beep”. They had other hits in the 50’s, but the only one anyone remembers is this novelty record about a Rambler passing a Cadillac. Kind of like a Prius passing a Corvette.
Portrait – “Sh-Sh-Sheila”. This Portrait was a UK bubblegum group that had this moment in the sun (relatively) with a song good enough for it to be comped 40 years later.
The Precisions – “You’re the Best (That Ever Did It)”. A wonderful R&B vocal group side that happened to be the last they cut (and it was a B-side to boot). They had a few R&B hits but I don’t think ever got an album deal, and only show up on comps exploring unknown 60’s soul.
The Radiants – “Voice Your Choice”. Forming in 1960, this vocal quintet had a few scattered regional hits before imploding. Two members added a third and in their last ditch effort to get some career momentum, released this song and grabbed a national R&B hit. It’s got a different vibe than many vocal groups of that era.
Roger & the Gypsies – “Pass the Hatchet” – Sometimes, New Orleans musicians recorded under different names to put out a single. This is renown New Orleans player Eddie Bo and his combo. This thing is tight and funky and absolutely groove-tastic. Everyone is in the pocket, but I wouldn’t expect less from seasoned New Orleans players.
Paul & Barry Ryan – “Glad to Know You”. They were a brother act for a while, then Paul got stressed out and became more of a songwriter. This was on the B-side of one of their singles and somehow I lucked into this. It’s a bit late (1973) for psychedelic bubblegum but it works all the same!
The Salt – “A Whole Lot of Rainbows” and “Lucifer” – A studio group that was formed just to get a song out there, “Rainbows” is a great psychedelic sunshine pop single that has fuzz guitar, groovy harmony vocals, and a weird bridge that changes the entire tone of the song. “Lucifer” is just as trippy in its own way. Oh, the 60’s.
Serendipity – “I’m Flying”. A garage rock with a psychedelic flash, thanks to a very Rick Wright organ solo. They had an organist and another keyboardist! The tune has a neat melody that you don’t find much in garage music – almost medivialish.
Pat Shannon – “Candy Apple Cotton Candy”. A nice piece of psychedelic sunshine pop from a brother of a Warner’s staff producer. It didn’t hit, and he decided to do something else. This is a confection!
The Sharpees – “I’ve Got a Secret”. One-derful Records was a cross between Motown and Stax, with some harder edged horn-based soul that still had a definite Chicago edge. The Sharpees didn’t quite have the success that others did, but it’s still a darn good group.
The Show Stoppers – “Ain’t Nothin’ but a House Party” – A minor hit in the US, and a big hit in Europe, this Philly vocal group never recorded an album or had another sizable hit. This cooks, though.
Sir Mack Rice – “Mustang Sally” – He was a member of the Falcons with Wilson Pickett, and wrote “Mustang Sally” and many other 60’s soul hits. This was the only recording of his that got any action, and it’s worth it to seek it out.
Sixty Foot Time – “Bro Status”. My best friend gave me this on a comp, and the details about this are elusive. I think they released a single, an EP and some compilation cuts. Anyway, this is ‘math rock’ or a prototype with intricate guitar lines driving the song.
Skylark – “Wildflower”. A Canadian pop tune with some nifty guitar work by Doug Edwards. I know I shouldn’t like this treacle, but somehow this got to me. This got airplay due to the Canadian content rules, it was then released in Detroit, and well, there you go, Top 10 baby!
PF Sloan – “Halloween Mary”. Songwriter extraordinare, but never had real success as a recording artist in his own right. This was kind of a Dylan-esque thing with rambling verses and a harmonica. He’d write better, really.
Soul Brothers Six – “Some Kind of Wonderful”. A self-contained R&B / Soul music group had one song in them. Most everyone knows the Grand Funk version, but the original has a grit and drive that only a hungry group can deliver.
The Soul Children – “It’s All in Your Mind”. This is the Bobbettes (“Mr. Lee”) in another guise. They hadn’t had a hit since 1960, and while this was a funky slice o’ New Orleans Soul, they didn’t get one in 1969.
Soulful Dynamics – “Madiemoiselle Ninette”. Not a hit over here (I don’t believe) but big in Germany and Austria in 1970 – this is a catchy tune sung by a band that originated in Liberia. It’s just a pop song with a little soul.
The Sparkles – “No Friend of Mine”, “Hipsville 29 BC”. There were a lot of garage bands from Texas that recorded some great singles in the 60’s. The former is their best, a tough, tight piece of fuzzed out heaven.
The Spencers – “Make Up Your Mind”. One of those hidden gems, where it would just be lost to the mists of time if not for the fact that the great Clarence White played guitar on the track. There’s some great picking from White, a dandy fuzz something-or-other, and close country harmony. What’s not to love?
The Starlets – “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman”. Or is the Bluebelles (with Patti LaBelle). There’s a big ol’ story behind this, and mostly it’s half told. Basically, they allegedly slapped the Bluebelles name onto this song that was recorded by the Starlets, which happened on occasion. This time, it caused a stir and the Starlets career went pffft.
The Street Corner Society – “Summer Days / Summer Nights”. An obscure, but near perfect, sunshine pop single from 1967. Brian Hyland wrote and produced this for Jubliee Records, so it may be him as a pseudonym since he was on Dot Records at the time.
The Stereo Shoestring – “On the Road South”. Yeah, they may have copped a song by the Pretty Things, but no one checked on those things, especially when a small band out of Corpus Christi recorded their lone 45. The guitar sound is pretty rad, though, with a lot of fuzz and distortion.
Foster Sylvers – “Misdemeanor”. Foster was the young star of the Sylvers, who had some hits in the mid-70’s. This sounds like a Sylvers release with trading off of lines between the family, but Foster’s the star. Yeah, it’s kind of like Michael Jackson or Donny Osmond, BUT the song is tremendous. It’s funky as hell, has a great groove, and the family sings the hell out of it. Go find it!
Johnny Tolbert & De Thangs – “Take It Off (Part 2)”. Oakland funk / soul legend Tolbert never made it nationally, but had his career resurrected a bit when this track hit a few soul collections. Dig it.
Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers – “Does Your Mama Know About Me”. A 1968 slow jam (that sounded like it came from 1965, though) co-written by Tommy Chong, who was the guitarists. By 1969, the band was in chaos and basically splintered, leaving Taylor to a solo career and Chong to, well, Cheech.
The Teen Queens – “You Good Boy, You Get Cookie”. I tried to resist this 1958 minor single by two Los Angeles sisters and anonymous backing singers, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.
Three Hour Tour – “Valentine’s Day”. A Illinois-based power pop band, they released a few singles that were collected into a CD in the 90’s. I got this from a massive mix someone sent me, and it’s definitely a keeper thanks to the melody and harmonies (as is usual with power pop).
The Third Rail – “Run, Run, Run”. A quirky single put together by three studio musicians that would later be part of the Ohio Express bubblegum empire. This is like a litany of crap someone that works for the MAN has to go through to make a buck, when you should just chill out, and let it all hang out. At least that’s the subtext I get from it.
Uncle Sound – “Beverly Hills”. Seals & Crofts had several different groups and names before they hit it. This was one of them, a group that included the girl group the Day Sisters. This has a neat fuzzy guitar sound, and if you listen hard you probably could pick up that it was Dan Seals. Maybe.
The Unknowns – “Not My Memory”. A great power-pop song sung by Bruce Joyner in a quirky kind of hiccup in some places. It’s just an intriguing blend of basic guitar lines played on the lower strings (giving the song a bass heavy menacing kind of sound), old-style farfisa-esque keyboard and a bass and drum line propelling the song. They didn’t release much, and nothing is really available.
The Vipers – “Cheated and Lied”. Lots of minor groups named the Vipers. This group were 80’s garage revivalists that recored an album in 1984 that got some attention, but not enough to sustain success.
Wa Wa Nee – “Sugar Free”, “One and One (Ain’t I Good Enough)”. “Sugar Free” scraped into the Top 40 in 1986. It’s catchy pop-funk sunshine with a surprising hard guitar, coupled with swoony band members, no doubt contributed to that placement. In Australia they had four charting singles from their debut. Most of the rest is just generic synth pop, which doesn’t move me. And it didn’t move anyone past 1986, either.
The Wallace Brothers – “What-cha Feel Is What-Cha Get”. There were two soul acts going by the Wallace Brothers moniker in the 60’s. This was a group from Columbus, OH that used a funky bassline, and an incessant horn chart to great effect. There’s a whistle, too. I feel like the records calling a foul or something.
Jack Wild – “Takin’ It Easy” – Somehow I received this nice album cut from the kid actor who played The Artful Dodger and was also the main human on the acid-trip for kids that was HR Pufnstuf.
Wimple Witch – “Save My Soul”. Definitely a band that should have anthologies at the ready. Maybe they are streaming in the UK. This is a heavy tune moving between beat and psychedelic, and I love the guitar line in the solo/bridge/coda.
John Paul Young – “Love Is in the Air”. In Australia, he was a big enough star to get an Order of Australia medal, but everywhere else, this is it. It’s a good pop nugget, but the fact that nothing else is streaming for him may tell you something.