18 U.S. Pop Psych Gems From The ’60s
Puff were previously called The Rockin’ Ramrods but under the former guise embraced orchestrated pop and slightly psychedelic sounds. I’ve not heard their 1968 album on MGM, I don’t recall it ever being offered for sale on the dealer lists I get every few months.
“Looking In My Window” was not on their album so the 45 is worth tracking down for completists. It followed the album, with a release date of March 1969. The other side “Rainy Day” is a little more experimental with a bouncy rhythm section, not unlike any of those DDDBM&T singles – catchy pop aimed at the charts – but I doubt the hippie heads bought into it.
The commercial pop psych number “Looking In My Window” has been compiled on the Misty Lane LP “Bring Flowers To U.S.”
The Fountain Of Youth were a teen group from Fredericksburg, Texas who previously recorded as The Crossfires releasing the following 45: ’Who’ll Be The One’/’Making Love Is Fun’ (Tower 278)… They came to the attention of the Colgems label who signed them in March 1968 (there is a mention in a Billboard magazine from this time)..
Looking at the promo pic of The Fountain Of Youth it shows the teenagers to be a clean cut, square looking combo in psychedelic shirts. By the time of this single, their 4th for Colgems, I’d be surprised if they looked as wholesome as this.
’Liza Jane’ was released in April 1969 and is typical bubblegum pop of that time period. The jewel is the heavy psych flip ’Witness People’… There isn’t that much information around about The Fountain Of Youth but they seemingly had a lead singing drummer!
Richard Podolor produced their Colgems singles. He also worked with psych outfit The Glass Family, The Starfires, The Standells, The Chocolate Watch Band and many more I’m sure. (14/03/11)
Jimmy Panza (lead vocals & drums)
Gary Itri (bass & vocals)
Gary Jenschke (lead guitar & vocals)
Ken Molberg (rhythm guitar & vocals)
Ken Molberg (the guy with the glasses) had left the band at this point and isn’t featured on this song. He’s a lawyer now.
Ken Molberg is a Judge in Dallas.
I went to high school with all four of these men. I knew them well. I just found out today that Gary Itri (second from left) has passed away.
THE SUNSHINE TROLLEY – ’Cover Me Babe’ / ’It’s Gotta Be Real’ (Trump 2890) August 1970
Here’s a recent addition to my collection and it’s a record that I’ve needed for some time after hearing ”Cover Me Babe” on one of those ’Fading Yellow’ compilations. I’m not sure who The Sunshine Trolley were, they may have been a studio creation, if they were a proper group I’d guess at California State location but the Trump label indicates that the music was recorded in Memphis, so who knows!
”Cover Me Babe” was written by Fred Karlin & Randy Newman and performed by Bread.
Their version can be found on the ”Cover Me Babe” film soundtrack released October 1970.
The Sunshine Trolley version got a ’special merit spotlight’ in Billboard during August 1970 and why not…. because it’s simply superb sunshine pop with mind melting harmonies and a melody that suggests late 60s but had a release of mid 1970. (30/12/14)
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)