Friday, September 28, 2007

Vanilla Fudge - "Good Good Livin'" (Atco)

Say whatever you want about the Vanilla Fudge, but I'm one to believe that they definitely have their moments. Their version of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" has always been a favorite of mine ever since I found their first album in a garage sale as a little kid. They didn't always record the best material - "The Beat Goes On," anyone? - but when they were on, they were on. This little 45 is ample evidence of that.

"Good Good Livin'" is the B-side of the Fudge's version of the Jr. Walker classic "Shotgun," which only peaked at #68 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March of 1969. It's given the typical Vanilla Fudge sledgehammer sludge rock treatment and is pretty good for what it is. But for me, "Good Good Livin'," mislabled "Good Good Lovin'" on some copies (I think) is where the action truly is.

Opening with a touch of guitar scratch and a blast of organ, Carmine Appice's machine-gun drums kick in and we're off and running with Vinnie Martel's bursts of guitar frenzy and Tim Bogert's all-over-the-place bass. The song gets intense and stays intense throughout its near-three-minute running time with Appice bashing the hell out of his drums and organist Mark Steyn's shrieking vocals. This is, to my ears, the most aggressive the Fudge ever sounded. "I want some good....good, good livin'" indeed.

One other thing I should add: On Sundazed's reissue of their "Near the Beginning" LP, it features a longer take of "Good Good Lovin'." I've never heard it and would be curious to hear if they were able to keep the intensity up or not. I bet they do.

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