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Sir Douglas Quintet

5 Feb

Everything is cancelled today because of the snow. You can look out and tell that we’re getting walloped, not just because of the rate that it’s falling, but from the color of the sky. Know when you look up when it’s snowing and the sky is as white as the snow? As I look up today, the sky is a hushed, sullen, morbid grey and looks to be dislodging all that’s impacting within itself down to topography that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Welcome to the dive.

When I was making a living as one of the sullen rats who stared at a monitor and typed poor code within 5×5 white cubicles, Mark was one of the few highlights I ever knew in those wretched days. Not only did he talk music enough to keep up with me, he bestowed upon me a gift that very few ever could – he held my head under the waters of a new genre that I had only a tenuous inking of. When I found my footing again, I was newly baptized into the frenzy of Garage Rock.

It was Mark that turned me on to the Sonics : Strychnine, the Leaves : Hey Joe, the Shadows of Knight : Bad Little Woman, early Raiders : (I’m Not Your) Steppin Stone, the Seeds : Pushin’ Too Hard, 13th Floor Elevators : You’re Gonna Miss Me, Adrian Lloyd : Lorna (a must hear that even today, has my heart rupturing), the whole Nuggets collection and the delicious Sixties Rebellion collection, and countless other growling denizens of the garage. The music reached out its steely claws, encapsulated my neck and vibrated my skull with such vigor that as I look back now I believe that I spent close to a year passionately embracing, and collecting, the Garage Band era. As any other music whore could tell you, sometimes you listen to something so powerfully beguiling, that quite unexpectedly, the siren has completely wrapped you into its fold, nested you within, and before you know it – a year has gone by before you are able to loosen its grip and pull away. Such was my time in the jaws of garage. Anybody else ever get the fever that bad?

garageRather than spending phrases on an obscure influential raunchy slice of rock or lament over a balladeer who slays with emotion, I’m presenting someone who is noticeable, who had a hit, and who was there through the pulsing early strobe lights, who played all the beer-encrusted table tops of small halls, who was there watching the mini skirted, calf-booted, fringe swirling vests of teeny boppers, and helped to form and popularize the sound that enlisted thousands of kids with encouragement that they too could form a band.

Sir Douglas Quintet, with the inimitable Doug Sahm, had the quintessential lineup of guitar, drums, bass and organ that was permeated throughout the mid-sixties. Easy, yes? But what came out of that lineup was beautiful, headstrong bliss. They were based out of Texas and had a wide pallet of musical influences siphoned into their minds from that area including Tex-Mex, psychedelic, blues, pop and soul. Out of the maelstrom came what they are more known for, 1965’s ‘She’s About A Mover’, which hit #13, and the 1968 hit ‘Mendocino’, which I favor more.

It’s all I need; nodding rhythm, a pulsing Vox organ, catchy hook and easy enough for any garage aspiring teenage band to play as long as their willing to learn four basic chords.

Not to downplay my selection, but I can’t help but include the video I found showing the stark and silly juxtaposition of the band playing on, of all things, Hugh Hefner’s show ‘After Dark’! What, what? It includes a brief pre-performance interview.

Sadly, Doug Sahm died in 1999. In his sleep. Not a bad way to go is what a lot of us think. But, feast on this track from a band that was shoulder deep in the buzz, excitement and glory of the movement, and who helped to inspire legions of makeshift bands that drove their parents crazy, who felt like rock stars must have felt and had that taste of splendor that could only be had by being in a garage band.

And before I forget, thank you Mark for causing me to spend all that time listening to garage bands.

Sir Douglas Quintet: Mendocino

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Arthur Alexander

25 Jan

Few can lay claim to having their recordings covered by the Beatles, the Stones and Bob Dylan. Although, as I write, I wonder can anyone one else claim that besides Arthur Alexander?

Dylan covered “Sally Sue Brown” on 1988’s “Down in the Groove”, the Stones covered “You Better Move On” which appeared in 1965’s “December’s Children (And Everyone’s)” and of course the Beatles covered today’s jewel “Anna (Go to Him)” which was placed on their 1963 debut “Please Please Me”, and in my opinion one of the more moving and convincing covers.

Many others also were smart enough to cover Arthur’s tunes with varying success including Elvis, Tina Turner, Otis, Mink Deville (I wrote about the amazing Mink on my earlier blog right here) and the Hollies among others. I was not so surprised to discover that a ton of 60’s garage bands put out for Arthur; Kenny and the Kasuals and the Leaves were a quick few that I found.

aalexanderIt’s a shame that Arthur never really made it big. He came close a few times but never actually broke out and ended up driving a school bus for a while. Can you imagine being driven to school by Arthur Alexander? Mind boggling!

Just as there was a renewed interest in him in the early 90’s, the poor guy suffered a heart attack and sadly passed away in 1993. But, his vital catalog and his legacy lives on.

Anna (Go To Him) is a worthy testament to his songwriting ability and you’ll be the better to hear one of the great tracks in soul history.

Anna, girl before you go now,
I want you to know now,
That I still love you so,
But if he loves you more –
Go with him.

All of my life, I’ve been searching for a girl
To love me like I love you!
But every girl I’ve ever had,
Breaks my heart and leaves my sad,
What am I, what am I supposed to do?

Anna (Go to Him)

Just for the sheer surprise of it all, here’s Arthur singing “Burning Love” before Elvis karate chopped his version way to the top of the charts.

End of the Line

Just happened to notice, while browsing, Neck Pickup. Lot’s of writing about music, along with sports and general musings. Kept my interest with many, many posts writing about his time in the Boston area and I, being a Boston boy myself, recognized quite a bit of what he’s referenced. Has a nice thing going with an occasional post about a selected week within a selected year of the Top 40 countdown. I take exception to some of his highlighted favorites, but that’s what makes it interesting.

Legalized It

3 Jan

I’ve been reading about the blocks long waiting line, the price gouging by greedy emporiums in an effort to maximize profit and thewelcome-to-colorado law enforcement legion roaming and mingling, making sure order was kept. No apocalyptic, end of earth incidents were reported, and thus no politician was able to straighten his tie for the camera, prepare a side-smirk and say to an eager, waiting microphone “I told you so”. It appears that order and sanity won the day.

As reported by the Denver Post, a former Marine with PTSD was the very first customer to buy legal marijuana.

Soon, I believe in the spring, Washing will be the next state to commercialize pot. Many other states have already passed laws to decriminalize possession, and many others are contemplating loosening and lessening the penalties. And with Colorado as the first to mellow its stance and realize pecuniary advancement, well, frankly, when there is money to be made let’s be truthful and say out loud that government has been known to follow where money lies. Ganja – coming to a dispensary near you.

Peter Tosh sung about making it lawful way back in ’76 on his album Legalize it. He of The Wailers (along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer) was a pretty competent and gifted writer. I also strongly recommend listening to Bush Doctor.

But, for now, we can believe that Pete is looking down and maybe feeling that he perhaps helped a little bit with the struggle by providing an anthem of sorts that’s been played countless times over the past decades.

Doctors smoke it
Nurses smoke it
Judges smoke it
Even the lawyers too

Legalize it – don’t criticize it
Legalize it and i will advertise it

Legalize It