1966


Title: Break It All

Artist: Los Shakers

Album: Break It All

Year Released: 1966

What It Is: The Uruguayan Fab Four! Or, “Los Quatro Fabuloso Uruguayos”, or something like that. Yes, direct from Montevideo comes Los Shakers. The Fattoruso brothers and friends emulated the Beatles pretty darn convincingly. They concentrated mostly in South America, but someone in New York convinced them to record some of their songs in English, and here’s one of the results!

Riffage / Hookage: There’s enough hooks in this song for 20 regular pop songs!

Cowbell?: Nah!

Words Of Wisdom: “We want you to come
We want you to hear
We want you to dance
Dance all night long
But when the music starts
Don’t stay there like a fool
And break it all
You listen me break it all”

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Mixology Report: You listen me, mix it all!

Top Five Genius Results: Bad Little Woman – The Wheels
But You’ll Never Do It Babe – The Boots
Changing The Colors Of Life – Los Chijuas
My Life – Thor’s Hammer (not a metal band, a 60’s Scandinavian pop group)
You Can Be My Baby – The Red Squares

For The Good Of The Order: Los Shakers lasted just a few years, but they did emulate the Beatles each year, moving toward psychedelia and releasing an album in 1968 entitled “La Conferencia Secreta del Toto’s Bar”. They’ve gone back and had some fun and still work today!

And speaking of fun:

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(Perhaps setting a record for largest paradigm shift without a clutch in music blog history…)

Title: Looking Glass

Artist: The Association

Album: Renaissance

Year Released: 1966

What It Is: A simply beautiful example of ‘sunshine pop’. The Association received a bad rap for being ‘squares’ in the 60’s, and yes they weren’t radicals and sometimes tried too hard to be hip. But they were an excellent group for what they did – which was write pop songs with great harmonies and melodies. This was a B-side of a single with “No Fair At All” on the A, but DJs liked both and so basically neither side hit the charts big time. That’s what happened sometimes back in the days where radio was a bit more free form. But at least it wasn’t cookie cutter radio – as in the rock station in Buffalo is the same as Fresno.

Riffage / Hookage: The song didn’t have as strong of a hook as their big hits like “Along Comes Mary”, “Cherish” or “Windy”, and perhaps that’s why it didn’t have that huge of a radio impact. But it’s a pretty nifty melody. The guitar solo is pretty good for a sunshine pop tune.

Cowbell?: A woodblock and wind chimes, close enough? No? Ah, well.

Words Of Wisdom: “So go, play in jeweled cities
Play with pretties, tie ribbons in your hair
And if you find the looking glass
Please stay and ask the other side
Who’s that standing there, who’s that standing there
What’s her name
Does she still wear morning in her hair
And smile the same

Wearing morning in her hair? Jeweled cities? They may have dabbled in substances…

Mixology Report: It’s always a good idea to put a sunshine pop tune in there for a change up.

Top Five Genius Results: Midnight Confessions – The Grass Roots
This Diamond Ring – Gary Lewis & The Playboys
You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice – The Lovin’ Spoonful
There’s A Kind Of Hush – Herman’s Hermits
Precious & Few – Climax

For The Good Of The Order: They’re still out there. They shut down for a while in the 70’s but have been out there for a long time. And because of that, they’ve had some changes. Even now, there are three members of the band that were there in the 60’s still going strong (Russ Giguere, Jerry Yester and Larry Ramos) and the son of bassist Brian Cole is also part of the group (as is the son of Larry Ramos). Sure they play a lot of small casinos, small colleges, and county fairs, but hey, they’re still making music for a living. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. Just look at who their management represents. Quite an odd lot!

Here is the Association on the Andy Williams show. Man, my mom LOVED Andy Williams. But she thought this was that loud rock and roll, no doubt.

I post this because Sky Saxon died yesterday. Though obscured by Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, Sky was a unique talent and inspirational, in his own way.

Title: Mr. Farmer

Artist: The Seeds

Album: A Web Of Sound

Year Released: 1966

What It Is: Classic garage-psychedelic rock from the kings of the LA scene, in 1966 at least. The Seeds never really obscured their inspiration, and their modus operandi was the same: loping bass, fuzzed out guitar, simple repetitive organ riffs, and lyrics about drugs, sex, and other stuff important to the ‘heads’ at the time.

Riffage / Hookage: Daryl Hooper’s organ is the driving force musically.

Cowbell?: Heck, they could barely play their instruments as it was.

Words Of Wisdom: “See the farmer on the other side of town
He’s always working hard ’til the sun goes down
He’s up every morning right on five, a wanting green seeds just to come alive,
But he don’t wear a no farm clothes, he’s always using a rake and hoe,
But his seeds are starting to grow, like a big stalk up through the sky

He used to live in an apartment in a big old city
With thick and priestly windows built right in it
But he decided to move to a little tiny town
He wanted to be a farmer all year round
And on a country road where you can’t see a thing
He’s got five acres filled little green things, he said
He’s working so hard all night and day

Mr. Farmer let me watch your crops
Mr. Farmer let me water your crops
Mr. Farmer let me harvest your crops
I want to have a dream come true
I said a farmer, farmer, farmer
I want to be just like you

See the farmer a walking down town, always draws a crowd when he’s around
He’s always wearing seedy clothes, he’s shows them off whereever he goes
You can spot him anywhere, got a bright pink thumb but he don’t care,
I said, he looks like something from a very bad dream

Mr. Farmer let me watch your crops
Mr. Farmer let me water your crops
Mr. Farmer let me harvest your crops
Mr. Farmer let me save your crops”

I had to post the whole thing, because Sky Saxon would want it that way. Gee, what do you think Mr. Farmer is growing there? Is this the prequel to Weeds?

Mixology Report: Of course, just to trip some people out, man.

Top Five Genius Results: “Terrapin” – Syd Barrett
“Get Me To The World On Time” – The Electric Prunes
“Daily Nightly” – The Monkees
“Strange Roads” – The Action
“Love & Beauty” – The Moody Blues

For The Good Of The Order: The Seeds were big time in LA, but nationally didn’t do much. They weren’t ‘safe’ or ‘wholesome’, so the radio in more conservative areas stayed away from their records. They did carry on and were in a couple of movies and carried on for a few years. Sky Saxon had an interesting life post-Seeds. For a while, he was in Hawaii with two common-law wives.

Here are The Seeds on the local tee-vee. Note Casey Kasem as the host. I bet he LOVED them!

Title: God Only Knows

Artist: Beach Boys

Album: Pet Sounds

Year Released: 1966

What It Is: It is perhaps the greatest love song ever written in the rock-and-roll era. Sung sweetly by Carl Wilson, with backup help from Brian and Brian Johnston (and no other Beach Boy, I believe). The production is top notch. It’s a definite highlight of the best album ever.

Riffage / Hookage: Brian Wilson is the master of the melody and production working hand in hand. You can’t forget the words to the hook even if you wanted to.

Cowbell?: Hal Blaine or whoever else played percussion on this track played the appropriate sounds at the appropriate time. There’s definite woodblock, sleigh bells and tambourine, and I believe a timpani.  Listening to the tracking sessions, the drums seemed heaver during the first pass of the basic track, but it all worked.

Words Of Wisdom: “God only knows what I’d be without you”

Mixology Report: Perfect for a sweetie mix (but not a first date mix, you fool).

For The Good Of The Order: Can you believe that this hit just #39 on the US chart? Of course, many stations back then were squeamish about a song that mentioned “God”. (No foolin’!) In the UK, it hit #2, a much more appropriate chart level.

I thought about a live version, but the studio version has so much beauty in the production and the voices that I had to just throw up a clip to the studio recording. Happy Valentine’s Day!