documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

Baubles: Volume 1 (Big Beat) 1988

Down To Middle Earth

THE DAILY FLASH – ’The French Girl’/’Green Rocky Road’ (UNI 55001) January 1967

Back in the 60s Seattle was the centre of a regional rock scene and perhaps The Daily Flash were one group from that scene who had the talent to break out nationally. The fact that they failed is a mystery.

They relocated to Los Angeles in 1966 and made a name for themselves playing numerous gigs at The Whiskey A Go Go. The group even secured performances on TV shows, Boss City and The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

’The French Girl’ was released during late January 1967 but made little impression in most areas apart from Seattle where it went Top 10. It’s such a great baroque pop highlight and deserved a better fate.

Surprisingly, it’s only been compiled once before, way back in 1988 on the vinyl LP Baubles collection put out by Big Beat. 

Apart from the cool Psycho album, there are some ace Daily Flash tracks (in mono!) on a neat coloured vinyl EP on Sundazed. The Greek magazine ”Time” did an interview with them and on the free CD there is a cover of CC Rider by the ‘Flash from ’66. (15/03/11)

RABBIT MACKAY & THE SOMIS RHYTHM BAND – ”Lana Minus Life” (UNI 73026) June 1968

I bought this album back in 2003, played it once, didn’t dig it much mainly because I heard nothing like their earlier psych rocker single ”Tendency To Be Free” so I filed it away on the shelf. I’d almost forgot about it but that was until Rabbit Mackay was mentioned on Facebook earlier this week.

Half an hour later I’m giving ”Bug Cloth” a spin for the first time in over a decade and I’m now beginning to dig it from start to finish, even the couple of songs where there’s use of a kazoo ain’t too bad. The music is varied and interesting, blues and folk based with the occasional dalliance into a West Coast psych vibration perfectly demonstrated by my choice cut ”Lana Minus Life.”

”Lana Minus Life” gets into a laid back hippie groove and I start to drift away to Rabbit’s ’spoken’ vocals, then a snaking acid guitar break worms away in the background. Love the burst of harmonica as the song closes and ebbs away.(05/03/16)

THE DRUIDS OF STONEHENGE – ”Six Feet Down” (UNI  73004) July 1967

Here’s an interesting garage psych album recorded by a group originally from New York but sometime in late 1966 relocated to Los Angeles, eventually securing a record deal with UNI Records. Their album ”Creation” is always listed as a 1968 release.

I made some investigations about this apparent 1968 release because I’ve always had my suspicions, especially as a single ”A Garden Where Nothing Grows” / ”Painted Woman” was released during July 1967. This 45 was listed in Billboard magazine as a new release in July ’67 and both songs are from the album.

Further more ”Creation” was released just after ”That Acapulco Gold” by The Rainy Daze (UNI 73002) and before The Strawberry Alarm Clock ”Incense and Peppermints” (UNI 73014) which I believe came out end of October / early November 1967.

Anyway, back to the music. ”Creation” is an impressive long player delivered by a band working on all cylinders. Most songs are forceful and tough R&B mixed with psych guitar and fuzz leads. The nearest group I can compare them with is probably The Chocolate Watch Band who had a similar vibration.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the trippy harpsichord laced  ”Six Feet Down” which I first heard in the late 80s on a compilation called ”Baubles.” They’ve also utilized Yardbirds styled ’gregorian chants’ giving it that eerie charm.

My copy is on Sundazed, mastered from the original analog tapes. They’ve even used original cover art front and back. A highly recommended vinyl release.

David Budge – lead vocals
Carl Hauser – lead guitar, harpsichord, vocals
Steven Tindall – drums, organ
Billy Tracy – guitar
Tom Paine Workman – bass, slide guitar, vocals

Comment from Carl Hauser:
Carl Hauser here. First, we were the Druids. The ”Stonehenge” was added by some marketing consultant. ”Garden where nothing grows” and ”Painted Woman” were chosen for release by our thieving producer, Jerry Goldstein because they were both written (and produced) by our thieving producer, Jerry Goldstein.

UNI had decided they wanted to be the ”psychedelic label” so that’s how Jerry pushed us. It was a terrible experience for a bunch of young, idealistic blues players and it took 50 years to get over. But we’re still here.

If any one is interested in what we would have sounded like produced right, check out http://www.theDruidsof or look for the ”Resurrection” album on iTunes. Four of the 10 cuts are on the Druids Facebook page. More to come. An all original album is also to follow in early 2020. Stay cool! (19/10/15)

The Hobbits were a studio outfit led by Jimmy Curtiss. I wrote about his solo single ”Psychedelic Situation” maybe ten years ago. Anyway, I’ve had all of The Hobbits records for quite some time but have never seemed to get around spending that much time with them, until this weekend.

”Down To Middle Earth” is a strong pop album with some psychedelic touches in the production, use of sitar on the title track and some subtle fuzz guitar. I won’t go into the album in any detail mainly because I prefer to focus my attention on a song that was never given single status, either A or B-Side.

Check out the bubblegum pop raver ”Treats” hidden away as the last track on Side 2. Man, this should have been a single, it could have caught on and been a hit with it’s catchy beat and lyrics about mind ’treats’ and New York Village cats reading their poetry and complaining all the time.

It doesn’t take long to work out that the ’treats’ are some kind of psychedelic stimulant. (07/05/17)

”Hey baby little treats can turn you on,
And you know those little treats can get you gone.”

”Sunny Day Girl” / ”Daffodil Days” (the Affection Song) (Decca) 11/67
”Pretty Young Thing” / ”Strawberry Children” (Decca) 3/68


That there is something unique about the San Francisco music scene has been obvious for some time now. One after another, a succession of great bands  – The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Country Joe & the Fish, Big Brother & the Holding Co. – have emerged from what the rock generation has called ”the Liverpool of the U.S.” and more are coming.

”Music is different here,” says Joe Tate, lead guitarist of Salvation, latest in the succession of San Francisco bands to emerge on the national scene. ”Tastefully, it’s different. It has a flavour that hasn’t been heard before. ”I would use the word pure,” interjected Al Linde, his songwriting / singing associate in Salvation. ”Music is purer here. If you’re shucking, they know it!”

Salvation emerged this past year in San Francisco. For weeks the band was a feature at the free concerts in Golden Gate Park given every Sunday by local bands under the wing of The Diggers, the Monks of Haight Ashbury who provided free food and concerts all summer.

Salvation loved the concerts in the park. ”It’s our business to entertain.” Linde says. ”We’d play for Ed Sullivan, President Johnson’s press party, any place, if they’d ask us. It’s good for music to be there where people are and it’s good for them for us to be there.”

Salvation began when Al Linde, a former harpoon sharpener and garbage collector at the University of Washington in Seattle, met Joe Tate, a cesspool diver and former student at the School of Mining & Minerology of the University of Missouri.

”Al and I were running around with a tape we had made and we got a call for a job at the Roaring 20s that started in nine days. So we learned twenty songs and went to work and stayed there three months.” Teddy Stewart, the group’s drummer, met Joe outside a bar in Sausalito and U.S. of Arthur (his real name is Arthur Resnick and he went to the University of Minnesota with Bob Dylan) and bassist Artie McLean joined later.

”We’re growing,” says Linde, ”but we change all the time. The thing to do is to all grow at the same pace. We have depth and we’re growing with each other. We haven’t really even delved into what we COULD do yet. We haven’t even scratched the surface of each other’s talent.”

The music on the album is a good cross section of what Salvation does. Al Linde refers to it as ”the music we’ve listened to all our lives. Super product. Super square.” It took them three days in three four hour sessions to cut the album and all the songs are written by Al and Joe. The music, Al says, ”Is earthy, commercial, what just comes out of our mouths and souls.”

Of the songs on the album, Al wrote ”Love Comes In Funny Packages” on ”a riverboat in Seattle. It’s in B-flat. It’s just a corny cat digging a chick on the street.”
”Cinderella” (one of the group’s most successful songs in performance) is ”a true rock ’n roll song, Al says. ”The lyrics are cute.” Joe Tate adds, ”It’s a knock-out rock ’n roll song.”

”More Than It Seems” ”is our answer to Motown,” Joe says. ”This shows another side of Joe’s guitar playing,” Al adds.

”Getting My Hat” ”is kind of rhythm and blues variation of everything we’ve ever heard. It’s one of our true songs and has ’fours’ in it and is dedicated to all those groups that have ever done fours in jazz.” Al says ”G.I. Joe” is a rock-and-rollee! It is good time music. I was talking to myself. I didn’t write it or anything. I just sat down and played the whole song through once and I just knew it! I never had to do anything to it after that.”

”Think Twice” ”is a very free song. Every musician gets a chance to express himself in it and it ends in a jam.” Joe points out that Al plays harmonica on this one.

”She Said Yeah” ”is real hard rock. It’s really fun.”  ”The Village Shuck” is ”a good time song, a happy go lucky song. Joe plays electric mandolin on it. It’s bizarre,” Al adds, ”I sing it in an English-Western accent, like something out of the 30s, the Victorian times.”

”What Does An Indian Look Like” is a fun song, too. ”It’s the next thing between rock ’n roll and Village Shuck.” Joe says.

As the album was being released, Salvation was in New York and planning on driving back to San Francisco in their bus, ”a 24 passenger 1963 Ford school bus.” It used to belong to a church and the band has transformed it from it’s original image quite successfully. Joe designed the big metal hand which is one of it’s salient features. Some of the pictures Jim Marshall took of the group followed a mad bus ride in Los Angeles. The deepest conviction of Salvation is that they are guarded by the mighty hand of God in all driving adventures. Like their music, the bus is impromptu and joyous. (09/04/17)

THE NOVA LOCAL – ’Nova 1’ (MCA MUPS 377) 1969

The Nova Local have featured on ’Flower Bomb Songs’ before when I reviewed their debut single ’If You Only Had The Time’. For the purpose of having everything about The Noval Local in one place on my blog I’ve copied that entry from February 2011 with this posting.

I was recently delighted to acquire an original copy of The Noval Local. I’ve bought this a few times over the years on dubious bootleg vinyl and CD but there’s NOTHING as good as a vintage copy on vinyl.

The copy I managed to find, at a reasonable price, is the rare UK release on MCA. This stereo album was released sometime in 1969 in Britain, which is a little strange as The Noval Local had long since disbanded the previous year.

’Nova 1’ was first released in USA on Decca during April 1968 and appears to have missed out on any attention at the time, which is a shame as the material is first rate, varied and interesting.

The original songs are really strong psychedelic contenders including the lysergic and West Coast sounding opener ’$5 A Ticket’ which kicks the album off in fine style. The listener expects it’s gonna be one long trip.

Another winning original song is the very Lovin’ Spoonful(esque) ’A Visit From It, The King’ this then leads into some brilliant tripped out psych with versions of ’Tobacco Road’, ’Hitch Hike’ and ’Morning Dew’.

These three songs alone are worth buying the album for.
Dig the seriously far-out psych leads on ’Morning Dew’ especially. Actually, I’ve decided that The Nova Local sound more like a ’67 English psych group than American. Maybe that’s why their album got a belated release in England.  

The orchestrated and dreamy ’Forgotten Man’ was compiled in the late 80s on ’Baubles Volume 1’ and is probably where I first heard anything by The Nova Local. Other songs to receive the compilation treatment include the non-album ’Games’, which was the flip of ’If You Only Had The Time’, ’Other Girls’, another non-album flip side, is avaiable on ’Wyld Sydes Volume 5’.

other information:

Randy Winburn (rhythm guitar / vocals)
Joe Mendyk (lead guitar)
Cam Schinhan (organ)
Jim Opton (bass)
Bill LeVasseur (drums)
Phil Lambeth (guitar)
B.B. Saunders and Elliot Mazer (producers)

From Buffalo Billycan,

”This band were students at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Their album, which was recorded in New York in December 1966, is definitely worth investigating and is a minor collectable. Its very Anglophile sound garnered it a U.K. release, although the band had split by April 1967.

Bassist Jim Opton told U-Spaces:- 

”We were a band that was making a pretty good living playing fraternity parties around the campus, and a few cellar clubs in Chapel Hill. My fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, was sponsoring a charity concert for our scholarship fund, and we decided to go for broke that year and book a big name. 

We contacted William Morris Agency in New York, and booked Chad and Jeremy. We needed an opening act, so I booked my own band… got us real cheap. The deal was that Rob Heller, who was with the Morris Agency would come and hear us play. He signed us immediately after the concert. A week later he hooked us up with Elliot Mazer, who became our producer. Elliot also worked as a song peddler for E.B. Marks Music, who published the music.

We got a recording contract with Decca, I don’t know how, but Rob put that deal together with Elliot, and the next thing I know, we are in the studio with all kinds of famous people that had us in awe for the first 35 seconds or so. I do know that somebody thought we were kind of special, because the studio was absolutely closed to visitors while we were there, and we were not allowed to take home raw tape to play for anyone. 

We did a lot of things that were pretty advanced for our time. Listen carefully to Morning Dew for example. The strange vocal effects were done by feeding the vocals through a Leslie Tone Cabinet from a Hammond B3. Also, the bass lead is the first bass feedback lead I think I can remember in a rock song.

I blew up the amp doing it!! Cost me $750 (a LOT of money I didn’t have in 1966)!! But, it was a hell of a lick. The album was essentially recorded by five of us: Randy, Bill, Joe, Cam and me. Phil had departed for law school. I believe he is alive and well, and practicing law in Charlotte, N.C.”

”Actually, there is one little piece or two of rock and roll history that goes with that album. It was the first ever recorded using the very new, and relatively unknown, Dolby NR System. It took up a good size room at the time. The engineer for the album, Fred Catero, was also the engineer for Simon and Garfunkel.”  (thanks to Paul Jacob Boller)

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