The Yardbirds “Shapes Of Things”
If the A-side pointed to the future musically with its proto-psychedelic Jeff Beck guitar solo then the B-side was a prescient anthem of peace and love, “You’re A Better Man Than I”
Also covered by punk band Sham 69 in the late seventies
The Four Shells “Hot Dog”
Incredibly, this was a B side. I repeat, that was a B side. This was the A-side – not bad either.
The Great!! Society!! “Free Advice”
The Great!! Society!! were far from the only alternative band of the era that took their name from Democrat US President Johnson’s Great Society project, a series of domestic programs aimed at combating poverty and racial injustice in the USA.
Although The Great!! Society!! only lasted a year, their style helped define the early San Francisco sound.
Formed by married couple Grace and Darby Slick, and Darby’s brother Jerry, the band released only one single during its lifetime, the Darby Slick penned “Someone to Love”, of which “Free Advice” is the B-side.
The single was issued in February 1966 on Autumn Records’ tiny Northbeach subsidiary label and made little impact outside of the Bay Area. While signed to Autumn Records, the band worked with the label’s staff producer, Sylvester Stewart (better known as Sly Stone), who at the time was still in the process of forming his own band, Sly and the Family Stone.
Sly seemingly quite as the band’s producer after it took them over fifty takes to record a version of “Free Advice” that was suitable for release.
The band never really settled on a stable lineup and after a particularly chaotic Hallowe’en gig in late 1966, Grace Slick quit to join Jefferson Airplane, taking “Someone To Love” with her as well as another song that Airplane would cover to pretty decent effect!
Carla Thomas “Let Me Be Good To You”
Great slow-burner from Carla Thomas.
Definitely not in any way based on this tune (incidentally, check out Diana Ross dive-bombing the mike on 7 seconds)
nv Groep 65 “Pipe And You Like It”
I am indebted to the excellent Dutch music fansite nederbeat.nl for the following information on nv Groep ’65.
“The singer of this band Warner Landkroon was somewhat of a celebrity in Amsterdam. This was mainly attributed to his strange appearance due to his Ultra long hair and beard. In the unofficial contest of longhaired man he claimed to be the man with the longest hair in town, although there were several beatniks who disputed his claim.
In 1965 and ‘66 the band played regularly in and around Amsterdam. They toured the same places like dutchbeat icons The Oudsiders such as The Rembrandtpleintheater and at the Double Wow club organized by the Hitweek magazine. One band member Tom Krabbedam who left the band in 65 would later join The Outsiders as guitarist player.
In 65 they released two singles at the Deltalabel, Dankzij de Heer/Tanger and Pipe and you like it/Lost. Both are pretty weird anthems. The first Danzij de heer (With the help of the Lord) (below) wasn’t supposed to be blasphemous, on the contrary, but Christians didn’t see it that way and the record was banned”
Landkroon was arrested in the summer of 1966 for drug offences, leading to the breakup of the band. It has been reported that after many years in the wilderness, he eventially found solace in the Bible and became a Christian.
Junior Walker And The All Stars – Shoot Your Shot
B-side to their hit single I’m A Road Runner was to all intents and purposes a reworking of Shotgun – a “version” if you like.
“Shoot Your Shot” appears on the 1965 album “Shotgun”, released to coincide with the success of the Big Hit and featuring a collection of A and B sides, including this little-heard classic:
Goldie “Don’t Look Back”
Next a song made famous by Dusty Springfield but it was first a hit, albeit a minor one, for Goldie.
Goldie was lead singer with the excellent all-female group Goldie And The Gingerbreads. Born Henya Raven in Poland she came to the USA in 1947 with her parents and sister after surviving incarceration by the Nazis in a prison camp. The nickname Goldie came from her mother who thought adopting a more American sounding name would help her fit in.
Goldie and The Gingerbreads toured with the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Kinks, and Manfred Mann. They reached the charts with their hit “Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat” in 1965. The song reached #25 on the UK Singles Chart. The band stayed in London for two years.
Billed as “Goldie”, she released the original version of the classic Carole King-Gerry Goffin composition “Goin’ Back” in the spring of 1966. However this single was withdrawn within a week by producer Andrew Loog Oldham when he heard that Dusty Springfield had recorded it – Dusty’s version went Top Ten.
Paul Revere And The Raiders “Kicks”
Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for the Animals, who turned it down on account of its perceived puritanical anti-drugs message. Ironically, questions were asked by some radio censors on account of the title.
People are stupid sometimes.
Millie Small “Be My Guest”
The Blues Busters “Wings Of A Dove”
Both these tracks are taken from the album “Ska At The Jamaica Playboy Club” which came out in February 1966 and includes some excellent tracks – more on Beat ’66 Show #6 next week.
Stevie Wonder “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”
After “Fingertips” had hit No 1 for Stevie in 1963, launching his career as a Motown hitmaker when he was just twelve years old, the following two and a half years saw his career meandering from inferior copies of The Hit to jazz to show tunes to recording tracks rejected by other artists.
But he had time on his side and a record company who knew the value of persevering from the lesson with the “No Hits” Supremes who had transformed into an act that could boast a run of five successive number one singles. And Stevie had time on his side – and in late 1965 the follow up chart topper was duly delivered, ushering in his golden period which would last the rest of the sixties, and indeed the rest of the seventies.
The B-side is a bit of a gem, too – a lovely soul ballad of a type you wouldn’t normally reckon would suit Stevie’s voice – see what you think.
Nashville Teens “The Hard Way”
Most famous for “Tobacco Road”, Nashville Teens made a few songs that, like “The Hard Way”, either just scraped into the nether regions of the charts or missed them completely. Another single in this category was this one from late 1965:
Harper – Main Theme – Johnny Mandel
Johnny Mandel’s main theme from the Paul Newman spy thriller “Harper” released in 1966.
After leaving the New York Military Academy as a Band graduate, Mandel composed jazz tunes for the likes of Woody Herman, Count Basie and this one for Chet Baker:
Don Covay And The Good-Timers “See Saw”
Don Covay died a year ago (almost to the day at the time of writing this). His career covered the entire spectrum of black music, from doo-wop through R and B to soul and funk.
This is the title track from his “See Saw” album of February 1966, an album largely co-written with Steve Cropper of Booker T and the MGs and hundreds of Stax / Atlantic soul tunes.
One of the best known tracks on the record is “Sookie Sookie”, covered among others by Steppenwolf (in a rock stylee) and a jazzed-up take from Grant Green. This is Don Covay’s original
Mary Wells “Dear Lover”
What a difference two years makes. When “My Guy” hit Number One in March 1964, Mary Wells’ status as the Queen of Motown seemed assured. By February 1966, she had left the label at the instigation of her manager for a better deal at 20th Century Fox when she turned 21 (as was her right as a minor signing a recording contract), and her career as a hit-maker was in terminal decline amid rumours of Motown allegedly bribing radio stations to NOT play her records.
This was her last R&B Top Ten hit – the album it appeared on, “The Two Sides Of Mary Wells” also featured a decent Staxtastic take on the Stones’ “Satisfaction”:
Jean Shepard “Many Happy Hangovers To You”
Jean Shepard was one of the first women to forge a successful career in country music, kicking off in 1953 with “A Dear John Letter”, a half-spoken duet with Ferlin Husky about the Korean War. She had hits in the US country charts until 1978 and has recently celebrated 60 consecutive years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, a feat only matched by the late LIttle Jimmy Dickens. Jean still performs to this day at the tender age of 82 8=)
This is her other country number one single of 1966 – no woman in country music has a better, more believabl and natural delivery, for my money.
The Outsiders “Time Won’t Let Me”
Most of The Outsiders had been in an R and B band called the Starfires. When the Beatles arrived in the USA and everything changed, they morphed into what to these ears sounds like a garage rock’n’roll band with added horns.
“Time Won’t Let Me” was the first of their two hits, the band’s sound perhaps falling between too many stools to be enthusiastically adopted by the record-buying public. The choice of B-side seems to indicate that the record company also thought this, since it features no horn section. IMHO it would be massively improved by one.
The Barbarians “Moulty”
One of the strangest records to surface in th eearly part of 1966, part country-style talking lament, part garage noise, it almost predicts grunge 20 years early.
Victor “Moulty” Moulton, the subject of the song, was drummer of The Barbarians, despite having list his left hand when at the age of 14, a homemade pipebomb prematurely detonated while it was in Moulton’s grip.
The hand was amputated, and subsequently replaced with a metallic prosthetic device that Moulton could hold a drum stick in.
When Moulton formed the group in 1964, his disability added an unusual allure to the band’s rebel image.
Moulty is the only member of the band to actually appear on the record, the backing being provided by members of The Hawks (later The Band).
Originally, the song was only intended to be released under the consent of Moulton, who was opposed to its distribution. However, Laurie Records released “Moulty” along with “I’ll Keep On Seeing You” in February 1966 as a single. Upon discovering the distribution of the song, Moulton was infuriated with president of Laurie Records, Robert Schwartz, reportedly quarreling with him, and destroying some copies of the single.
“Moulty” still got to the respectable lower reaches of the US charts and became something of an inspirational anthem.
However, The Barbarians were so disgruntled with management for releasing the song, despite Moulton’s insistence against it, that the band ceased relations with the company
Bob Dylan “One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)”
Released on February 14th, 1966 as the lead single from the “Blonde On Blonde” album, this song performed poorly in the charts. I’m scratching my head as to exactly why – perhaps folks had proper love songs on their mind.