Okay, here we go with another rundown of some of my Allentown finds. I'm not going to go into all of them, just the very best.
There are still quite a few things I haven't listened to yet and you know how these things take time. Anyway, strap yourselves in, cuz here we go......
Don Norman and the Other Four: The Bounce (MGM K13562)
FRAT ROCK NIRVANA! This 1966 item comes from a group out of Ottawa, Canada and evidentally was a big hit in their part of the country. MGM released it here to no avail, which is really too bad because it's quite a stomper! Everything here is pushed up into over-modulation from the farfisa drone to the bleating of the saxes, as the lead singer slurs and sputters all over the place. Top it all off with a frenzied fuzz guitar solo and you've got yourself a winner, jack. (NOTE: I do not know if this is the same song Bocky and the Visions did or not. If anyone can enlighten me, I'd appreicate it.)
Mike and the Ravens: I've Taken All I Can (Empire E1)
This group came out of the Plattsburgh, NY/Burlington, VT area and were evidentally hometown legends. (There is now a 40-track compilation of their material on Bacchus Archives. See www.dionysusrecords.com for further details on that and another comp of bands from that area titled "Heart So Cold.")This particular 1965 item is mostly a poppy-sounding garage item, but it benefits from a lightning pace, pounding drumming and good, tough guitar work which helps put the teen-angst harmony vocals over that much better, me thinks.
The Go-Go's: Jerk and Twine (Pa-Dik 1012)
No, this is not the same Go-Gos as a certain 80s girl group we don't need to bring up here. This is a soul group singing the virtues of doing the title dance, invoking help from various nursery rhymes. They even took this dance to the woman in the shoe and now they got so many people they don't know what to do.
You get the drift. It's a fun record with raw harmonies and a speeded-up beat. That's about all I know. That's plenty.
Don Charles: She's Mine (World Artists 1031)
Can we say Merseybeat mover? Granted, I couldn't find much info on this artist, but this cut has that Merseybeat sound right to a tee. It's also good and fast, too, which gives it an added plus. It's about how he's gonna take his girl and lover and warns everyone not to steal her because she's his (obviously). I especially love this line from the chorus: "So, take a tip from me, my friend/This town is big, try the other end/She's mine/All mine." I think that puts it rather succinctly, don't you.
Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders: It's Just A Little Bit Too Late (Fontana F-1514)
This one came out right after this outfit's biggie "The Game Of Love" and while it has a somewhat similar sound, it definitely speeds the tempo up a bit to where it's almost freakbeat. The vocals have that same kind of mannered quality (to me) of the big hit, but the guitars and drums are relatively frantic and there's a neat guitar break midway through. I'm not sure if this is the hardest Mr. Fontana and the Mindbenders ever rocked, but it comes close enough for me to tell you to give it a go. Especially if you crave your Mersey movers.
The Triads: Bacon Fat (Ringo AR-111)
Here we have Andre Williams as done by The Crew Cuts. That's right, friends, it's another whitewash version of an R&B hit. That it's included on one of the "Big Itch" volumes must surely say a lot about how bizarre it actually is. Imagine, if you will, a hayseed vocalist trying to imitate the hip sound of Mr. Williams' rappin', followed by a chorus of well-scrubbed frat boys going "Dilly, dilly, dilly, dilly, whomp, whomp" sounding like....well, a chours of well-scrubbed frat boys! This one might have you really scratching your head. I do enjoy it for its camp value, though.
The Gospel Monolations: Looking For Jesus (Savoy 4352)
Can I get an "AMEN!!" here? I include this because this is easily one of the wildest gospel tracks I've ever heard. And it's from 1975, yet! The track starts off with some funky, scratchy guitar which will remain prevalent throughout the track. Bongo drums and loud organ kick in, as does a 190 MPH beat. Then, all God's glory blasts open the door as the vocalists do their thing. They call, they response, they sing, they scream, they shout. ("I see Jesus coming back for me.") Best of all, the intensity level never ever weakens. This record starts off explosive and stays that way right up until the fade out. If you never thought gospel music could rock with the best of 'em, here's a 45 that just might change your mind.
Well, friends, that's it for this round. Now, excuse me while I take a much-need breather.