Monday, May 26, 2008
The Beeds - "You Don't Have To"/"Run To Her" (Team)
This here item is what we, in the record collecting racket, call a two-sider. And it's quite a surprise, too. I picked it up at a flea market, expecting it to be average bubblegum, considering it's on a Buddah subsidiary, Team, and bears the marking "A Product of Kasenetz-Katz Assoc." Well, you get two different flavors here: one side of punchy bubblegum goodness, the other a folk-rock cut with a nice garage pop feel. Try 'em both.
What little information I've been able to gather comes from the blog Flowering Toilet (floweringtoilet.blogspot.com). And even they weren't able to gather much, other than that the record comes from 1968 and is one of two 45s the group released. (The other, "Love Hurts"/"You're Wrong," released on the actual Buddah imprint, is from 1971.) The writer-producer credits, Norman Mazarro and Buddah vet Jimmy Calvert (Calvert also arranged both songs) lead me to believe that this was a studio concoction, but nothing can be confirmed at this point. A reader to the blog mentioned that the group was originally called The Cat's Meow and hailed from Long Island. Other than that, The Beeds remain shrouded in mystery.
Now, on to the record itself. "You Don't Have To" is the punchy bubblegum side, not too dissimilar to anything bearing the Kasenetz-Katz seal, but with a slightly harder edge. It all but screams out "bubblegum" as it hits your ears from the opening drum roll and the repeated chorus "You don't have to if you don't want to/And you know you won't have to if you don't care." But it's pumped up with juicy rhythm guitar and pounding drums that blend in with the somewhat nasal vocalizing. You can picture some kid in 1968 jumping up and down messing up his bedroom as this comes on the AM transistor radio.
While I am not a big fan of the poppy side of garage, I have to admit that "Run To Her" is really starting to grow on me. Its sad lyrics tell of adolescent confusion and unrequited love. The singer knows that his girlfriend is leaving on a midnight plane never to return, so he's asking the girl's best friend what he should do. Should he run to her and tell her how much he loves her? He tells his tale of woe under a melancholy arrangement complemented with ringing accoustic guitars and popping organ. It's 2:15 of sheer garage pop joy. At least I think it is.
Either way, you win with this one.