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

Brain Shadows: Volume 1 (Brainshadow) 1991

The Incredible Expanding Universe

Brain Shadows is a series dedicated to rediscover great pieces of music which never reached the popularity they deserved in their own time.

For further information consult the books of Tom Tourville upon Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Chicago, North & South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma

THE LORDS – ”Death Bells At Dawn” / ”Light Rain” (Aldrich ALD 1001) December 1966

This is quite a stupendous disc, both sides are great but I would say ”Death Bells At Dawn” is an absolute classic. It’s a most beautiful haunting lysergic ballad with trippy organ, reverb guitar, subtle drums and mysterious vocals giving the song an almost other worldly sound.

Not a great deal is known about the Lords and I have seen no band shot although I believe they were a popular combo in New Jersey. According to ’Teenbeat Mayhem’ they hailed from Morris Plains.

If anyone knows anything about them please get in touch because I’d love to know more.

The other side ”Light Rain” is less immediate but still holds my interest and it’s worth repeated plays. It’s another languid performance but with some jangle, organ and pleasant vocals. Hearing these two songs it’s obvious that the Lords were talented and it’s such a shame that only this Aldrich 45 was released by them. (14/04/18)

SIDEWALK SKIPPER BAND – ’Strawberry Tuesday’/’Cynthia At The Garden’ (Capitol 2127) March 1968

Although The Sidewalk Skipper Band only released three singles during their short lifetime in the late 60s they are rightfully regarded with high esteem among collectors of psychedelic records, especially the all time great psych pop mover ’Strawberry Tuesday.’

They hailed from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and first attracted attention at Marquette University where they had regular gigs.

They managed to secure a recording contract with Capitol Records, who as a major label, had the necessary clout to get the group to a higher level but despite some promotion including a full colour sleeve showing The Sidewalk Skipper Band in their finest psychedelic gear, the record appears to have sank.

Despite this, a second 45 appeared on Capitol ’Seventeenth Summer’/'(Would You Believe) It’s Raining Flowers In My House’ during May 1968.

According to information from an entry in Billboard, all four songs were recorded in February 1968 at Universal Recording Studios, Chicago.

All four songs were written by members Dave McDowell (lead guitar/vocals) and Rick Novak (12 string guitar).

Other members included Brian Ballestrieri (hammond B3 organ) Joe Ballestrieri (bass) and Tom Jukem (drums)…

Recently and acetate of unreleased recordings has surfaced on the collectors market so they may be released at some point in time.

Also, a recording of Sidewalk Skipper Band playing live on ’Night Talk’, a radio show hosted by Doug Dahlgen is currently on YouTube. The group sound much ’heavier’ with a more prominent hammond organ sound. It probably dates from 1969.

The Ballestrieri brothers also discuss the new business enterprise at their club called The Stone Toad.

This later line-up is without songwriters McDowell and Novak as well as drummer Tom Jukem as Bob West (guitar) and Marc Balzac (drums) are listed in their place.

According to reference guide ’Do You Hear That Beat’ a third Sidewalk Skipper Band 45 was released in 1969 on Teen Town ’Sidewalk Skipper’/’Jeannie At The Circus’.

All four Capitol SSB sides can be found on Now Sounds’ ”Book A Trip: The Psych Pop Sounds of Capitol Records.” The CD sourced all of the tracks from the original master tapes. (10/05/12)

The Jagged Edge – ’How She’s Hurtin Me’ / ’You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down’ (Gallant GT 3017) June 1966

The Off-Set – ’Xanthia (Lisa)’ / ’A Change Is Gonna Come’ (Jubilee 45-5542) 1967

Here are four excellent songs by a bunch of teens from Brooklyn, New York. The first record on Gallant sold quite well in New York. ’How She’s Hurtin Me’ is in my top ten folk rockers list.

Both sides were written by Drew Georgopulos. Credits on label read A. Georgeopulis. Is this a typo?

Fortunately no one cares because it’s a sparkling jangler with rattling tambourine and a teen punk guitar break that pretty much elevates the song into my top ten folk rock list.

I’m surprised that it’s only been compiled once before on From The New World back in the 8os. This was a vinyl only release. ’You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down’ is more garagey and far less tuneful but still good none the less.

The band changed their moniker to The Off-Set for their next release a year later on Jubilee. Another cool song, again written by Drew Georgopulos is ’Xanthia (Lisa)’ This one is a psychedelic effort with weird noises, jangly guitar, finger cymbals and plodding bass. Almost Byrdsian but on a much smaller budget of course.

The other side written by S. Cook is back to the jangle folk rocker mode with what sounds like an opening barrage of fuzz bass. All four songs were produced by Cis-Trans Production team. (30/07/07)

Band members on these two 45s were:

Elliot Ingber (vocals)
Harley Wishner (bass)
Kenny Bennett (drums)
Art Steinman (lead guitar)
Drew Georgopulos (rhythm guitar)

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