Friday, July 14, 2006

The Bus Boys - Minimum Wage

The Bus Boys were an L.A. based band that really rocked. Those who have heard them have never forgotten them, especially not with a kicking song like this featuring vocal parts by five of the boys and great lead guitar by Victor Johnson. Arista released their debut album Minimum Wage Rock & Roll in 1980. Brothers Brian and Kevin O'Neal wrote most of the songs on it and the follow up from 1982 American Worker. Whether they all actually daylighted in resteraunts I don't know but on stage and in publicity photos they dressed as though they did, even posing in Madam Wong's on the back cover of this album. There's a line in Did You See Me? "bet you never heard music like this by spades" as aside from Asian drummer Steve Felix this rock band was black. Another track from their debut, There Goes The Neighborhood, complains about whites moving into the inner city, while KKK equates being black in a rock group with another fish out of water concept. D Day is a great Funkadelic style party song which seems likely to have inspired Fishbone's later Party At Ground Zero. While American Worker was fairly recently issued on CD, Minimum Wage seems to have had only one CD release... in Europe over ten years ago and practically impossible to find. This was the first vinyl I burned to compact disc (on a sunny spring day in S.E. Alaska) and there is a little hum from not having the line grounded properly. Back in the day I would sing this song to myself while weeding a grocery store's parking lot on a Sunday.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ron DanteThe Archies - Over And Over

Here is one fat wad of bubblegum pop! This track is my favorite from my vinyl of the time (1969?) of Kirschner/RCA's The Archies Greatest Hits, written by producer Jeff Barry and co-written and sung by Ron Dante. Most of the other songs from this album were co-written by Canadian Andy Kim who went on to have his own major '70s hit with Rock Me Gently. I really dig this sound regardless of the crassly commercial nature of the whole thing... Get some proper quality Archies recordings when you get a chance, they are worth it with great tracks like Sunshine(Barry/Bloom), Everything's Alright (Dante), Feelin' So Good(Barry/Kim), Bang-Shang-A-Lang (Barry), and another personal favorite Jingle Jangle (Barry/Kim). Hey, I'm just a girl, so it's okay for me to dig this stuff.

Check out the official site for more about Ron Dante.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Paupers - For What I Am

Here's a rare side from '60s Canadian group The Paupers. This single was released in 1965 by the original lineup with Bill Marion and quickly sank into obscurity in a country where most radio stations didn't yet support the domestic product. By 1967 The Paupers had signed to Verve Records after a great performance at a New York showcase event. They opened for The Jefferson Airplane in San Francisco shortly after that and received rave reviews but star bass player Dennis Gerard began doing a Syd Barrett on stage from drug use issues (if he appeared at all), and despite two successful album releases (Magic People and Ellis Island on Verve Forecast) the group fell apart on the road somewhere. Skip Prokop went on to form the very successful Lighthouse group which cut many an LP between 1969 and 1974. Their biggest hit was Skip's One Fine Morning (When I Wake Up). The a side of this single is credited (Prokop & Marion), the b side Free As A Bird also to (Prokop & Marion), produced by David Mostoway Prod. You can buy the two Paupers albums with bonus tracks from Pacemaker.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Shenley Duffus
Shenley Duffus - Rukumbine

Something from the Ska file. From 1964, Rukumbine is a track that has really gotten under my skin and has some things in common with the famous streetwise Simmer Down by Bob Marley & The Wailers. I think this is loosely based on an earlier American song called Rock Combine. Duffus has an effective sandpaper rasp-bark akin to Toots Hibberts of The Maytals. Island Records in England rereleased many of Duffus' recordings between 1963 and 1966: Give To Get, Fret Man Fret, I Know The Lord, One Morning and Easy Squeal among them. This recording was produced by Duke Reid of Treasure Isle, which always means fine skanking...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

On a Magic Carpet
The Three Suns - Terry Theme

A favorite from the easy-listening/lounge category are the Three Suns. This is a stereo cut from the RCA On A Magic Carpet LP (1960) and has some smooth guitar work. Terry Theme was written by Charlie Chaplin for his famous talkless film Limelight. There is a little bit of the vast Suns catalog available on CD if you look for it. My interest is solely in the recordings produced by Charles Albertine.

More on The Three Suns here: The Three Suns: The Living Stereo Era