Tag Archives: Louie Louie

Rare and Cool 45 rpm from 1962…

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I have a friend named Dave.  He owns a business called “College Hunks Hauling Junk”.  When Dave finds records in the junk he hauls off, he brings them to me.  My wife calls him my “Dealer”.   Recently Dave came to a party at my house.  He came bearing gifts.  He had pulled a bunch of 45 r.p.m.’s from a hoarders house.  They were filthy.  Some were broken.  Many of the artists were totally unknown to me.  It took me a while, but I cleaned the records up in my amazing “Spin Clean” record cleaner.  Then I created a data base of them and started listening to them.  That is when I ran across this very interesting and cool record.  This record grabbed me the minute I dropped the needle on it.

There are several cool things about this 45.  The record is from a group called Shank & Maydiea.  Side A is called “Bye, Bye Baby” and side B is called “Why Don’t You Tell Me”.  The record is on Flip Records.(Flip 361 released in 1962) Flip is the label that Richard Berry recorded for when he released the original version of Louie, Louie. (Flip 321 released in 1957)  This record was one of the very last records recorded at Flip. The record label  went out of business after they released Flip – 364 in 1963.

So who were Shank & Maydiea?  Shank was Ed Wells. I believe that “Shank” was his nick-name in High School.   Maydiea was Maydiea Wells Cole. (Ed and Maydiea were siblings)  Ed Wells founded a do-wop group in 1955 called The Six Teens.  Six teenagers performing do-wop music together.  Ed wrote all of their music.  Their songs were light and innocent.   They were moderately successful until one day when fate intervened.   In 1956 they released a single with the A-Side called “Teen Age Promise” and the B–Side called “A Casual Look”.  Hunter Hancock, an L.A. disc jockey, played the b side instead of the A Side.  A Casual Look immediately became record of the week.  It eventually topped out on the charts at #25.  All total Ed wrote and recorded 20 songs with The Six Teens. The Beach Boys recorded A Casual Look and also turned the song into a hit record.  The Six Teens were never paid a dime and received no credit for composing the song.  The Six Teens didn’t even know The Beach Boys had recorded the song until they heard it on the radio…

By 1961 The Six Teens had run their course and disbanded.  Ed Wells felt that his songs were on the naive and immature side.  He wanted to take one more stab at getting it right.  He formed Shank and Maydiea and began working on new songs in 1962.  In July of 1962 he released this 45.  It is anything but naive and immature.  This is spooky and cool music.  It grabbed me immediately.  I like side A better than side B but both songs are great and have a very cool vibe for 1962 or 2014 for that matter.  So give the songs a listen and let me know what you think.  After you hear the songs I will tell you the rest of the tale.

Side A

Bye, Bye Baby

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Side B

Why Don’t You Tell Me

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After the release of this 45 the sales were not good.  Ed Wells became disillusioned with the music business.  He had plowed all the profits from the songs of The Six Teens right back into the group. He never received any compensation for other musicians covering his songs, and the Shank and Maydiea single did not sell well enough.   In 1963 Ed Wells quit the music business for good.  He left L.A. and moved to San Francisco where he became a very effective social worker.  He spent the rest of his life helping others.  In 2001 Ed Wells died of Throat Cancer.  I think these songs are proof that he still had a bright future in music if he had decided to stick it out.  As it turned out, he impacted the lives of countless other people by his public service.  I couldn’t find any information on what has happened to Maydiea.  Another tale from the turntable…

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Posted in 45 RPM, Vinyl | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What does “Louie Louie” have to do with the Birth of Progressive Rock? The Album “Touch”

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This blog was inspired by my friend and former roommate in college, Ken.  Ken is the first person who ever told me about this album.  Then Ken sent me a copy of the CD.  Later on I found two copies of the LP and bought both.  It turned out that they were both in VG+ condition.  I gave one copy to my daughter and I kept the one you will here on this blog posting.  

When the song “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen opens, you hear a keyboard riff that is easily one of the most famous and influential musical ideas of all time. A fifteen year old young man named Don Gallucci created that keyboard riff. A billion songs have used that chord progression. It is arguably the most influential song in Rock history. It is certainly one of the most recognizable songs in Rock history. The song is the Root of the tree that all “Garage Rock” grew from. “Punk Rock”, too.  The song and group came out of the Pacific Northwest.  Portland to be exact.  So it is also the root of the tree that Grunge Rock sprang from as well.
The song and the riff were a blessing and a curse to Don Gallucci.  .  The curse was that he was so young that his parents  wouldn’t let him go out on tour with the rest of the band. The blessing was that the course of his life and destiny lay in another direction.
He started a new band called “Don and the Goodtimes” with drummer Bob Holden. He had another hit record. The song was called “I Could Be So Good To You”. The song made it into the top 20. The song was produced and arranged by the famous Jack Nitzchie.
The year was 1967. Don felt like every song, every album, was just like every other album and every other song… Two things happened that lead to Don Gallucci’s next great contribution to Rock history… He discovered L.S.D. and he heard “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”.
Gallucci felt that song structure could be expanded beyond the typical 3 minute radio friendly song.  He felt that Rock-n-Roll had much more potential. Rock offered the opportunity for serious musical composition. He took some acid and came up with 12 minute long, wildly original song he titled “Seventy-five” and Rock music would never be the same.  He formed the band Touch with John Bordonaro on drums, percussion and vocals, Bruce Hauser on Bass and vocals, Jeff Hawks on Lead Vocals, and Joey Newman ( AKA Vern Kjellberg) on Guitar and Vocals.

They rented a house in the Hollywood Hills that resembled a Moroccan Castle and started writing additional songs and rehearsing.  They invited A & R men and Producers up to their Moroccan Castle to hear what they were working on.  Word spread around Hollywood that they were working on a very different kind of album.  This resulted in a bidding war for the bands debut album.  They finally signed with Coliseum Records for a reported advance of $25,000.  That was a lot of money in 1967!    While they were preparing for their own recording session the record label asked them if they would act as the studio musicians for an artist named Elyse Weinberg.  She was working on an album at Sunset Sound.  Sunset sound was founded by Walt Disney in order to record the soundtracks for his movies.  It is one of the most famous recording studios in the world.  The people who recorded successful albums at that studio is a “who’s who” of music history. ( It’s ironic to note that the same studio that recorded the songs for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs also recorded the first two albums by The Doors!)  .They were credited on Elyse Weinberg’s album as “The Band Of Thieves”.  They took their name from one of her songs on the album.

The recording of the Elyse Weinberg album simply morphed into the Touch recording sessions.  The album was recorded in a party-like atmosphere.  Mick Jagger , Grace Slick, and Jimi Hendrix were all hanging around the sessions.  Jimi Hendrix even bank-rolled some of the studio time.

The recording engineer was the now famous Gene Shiveley.  Apparently, no one really remembers how all of the sound effects were created.  A lot of drugs and alcohol were involved.  The only unusual piece of equipment they had at their disposal was a tone generator.  Although, synthesizers were around in 1967 they were not always readily available.  According to Shiveley no synthesizers were used in the production of this record.  After you hear this music you will find that hard to believe.  So what you are about to hear was all done by real instruments and outstanding studio production techniques.

When you hear the stunning guitar work it’s easy to see why Jimi Hendrix was hanging around.  When you hear the piano and keyboard playing you won’t believe it’s the same guy that play “three cords and the truth” on Louie, Louie.

This album predates any English progressive rock.  It was recorded and released before King Crimson or Renaissance.  Maybe Frank Zappa could claim that Freak Out which was released in 1966 was the first Progressive rock album.  But it is a very different sounding album compared to Touch.

So take a listen to the eponymous album “Touch”.  Recorded in 1967 and released in 1968.

Side 1

We Feel Fine

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Friendly Birds

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Miss Teach

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The Spiritual Death Of Howard Greer

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Side 2

Down At Circe’s Place

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Alesha And Others

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Seventy-five

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I am also including some songs that were not on the original album.  They were included on the CD when the album was re released in 1999

Alesha And Others (Alternate Version)

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Blue Feeling

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We Finally Met Today

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The Second Coming Of Suzanne[cincopa AgNA6m7BjfjL

The piano work on this album sounds like Keith Emerson is performing it.  This album is sighted by many progressive rock musicians as a source of inspiration.  Genesis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Kansas, King Crimson, Yes, Uriah Heep, and Renascence all sight this album as an inspiration and the beginning of Progressive Rock.

So what happened?  What is the reason that this album isn’t better known?  One of the reasons the album didn’t sell well is that they never toured to promote it.  There is a story out there that says they refused to tour because they couldn’t figure out how to perform the songs live.  This is obviously not true because there are outtakes that were recorded live in the studio of the band performing some of the songs.  The real story is that they had personal issues that caused them to decide not to tour.

And what happened to the band members?  Well, Newman still works as a musician.  Hauser is out of the business and lives and works in Central Florida.  Bordonaro is a successful business owner and also an equestrian.  He lives in Southern California.  Hawks is a hair dresser.  And what about Gallucci?  He too, is out of the music business.  He sells Real Estate in Southern California.  It is unbelievable that a man that has had such a major impact on Rock and Roll could  be out of the business and largely unknown by the general public.  He should be in the Rock n Roll  Hall Of Fame!!  But Don Gallucci can always take comfort in the fact that when opportunity came his way, he had the Touch…

 

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Posted in Rock Music, Vinyl | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Reg Presley passed away today at age 71

Troggs_PresleyReg Presley, who was the lead singer of The Troggs, passed away today from lung cancer at the age of 71. His publisher Keith Altham stated “My dear old pal Reg Presley died today, one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world.” What a nice thing to say about someone. He must have been a good “Chap”. Altham stated that Presley died at home surrounded by his friends and family.

Wild Thing is one of the seminal songs of “garage rock”. It has to be up there with “Louie, Louie” as far as the history of rock n roll is concerned. It was covered, famously at the Monterrey Pop Festival by Jimi Hendrix.  Wild thing was also covered by Bruce Springsteen.  The Troggs never quit touring even though there star faded in the 70’s.  They experienced a revival in the 90’s when REM covered their other hit song “Love is All Around”. So rest in peace Reg and thank you for your contribution to “Three Cords and the truth…”

In his honor Click here: Wild Thing by The Troggs

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Let’s give it to ’em right now!! The Inside Story of Louie, Louie…

Cover of Louie, Louie by Dave Marsh

Cover of "Louie, Louie" by Dave Marsh

This is a truly great book about rock and roll. The sub-title of the book is as follows: “The History and Mythology of the World’s Most Famous Rock’n’Roll Song; Including the Full Details of Its Torture and Persecution at the Hands of the Kingsmen, J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I., and a Cast of Millions; and Introducing, for the First Time Anywhere, the Actual Dirty Lyrics” Isn’t that intriguing?  You bet it is!

I was totally surprised by this book.  I thought it was going to be some kind of light, funny take on the history of “Louie, Louie”.  This is a serious and scholarly look at the song and it’s significance.  That’s not to say that the book isn’t entertaining as well, because IT IS!  This book will make you laugh and make you think. 

First of all, The Kingsmen did not write Louie, Louie.   A great soul singer from L.A.  named Richard Berry wrote the song.  He had a reasonable amount of success with it at first.  His story is a subject all by itself.  Paul Revere and the Raiders released a version of the song within days of The Kingsmen.  Their versions fought it out on the radio for weeks, but The Kingsmen ultimately won.  Why?, well that’s why you should read the book.  Well, that reason and because you want to know what the dirty lyrics are, right?  Dave Marsh makes a great case for Louie, Louie being the greatest Rock’n’Roll song of all time.  There are now over 3,000 version of Louie, Louie.  There is an annual Louie, Louie radio marathon called “Maximum Louie, Louie”.  Maximum Louie, Louie is held every April 11th and they play every known version of Louie, Louie.    There is a web site where you can report any new versions that you know of.  He also makes amazing connections between the primal scream of “Let’s give it to ’em right now!” and Kurt Cobain and the   birth of Grunge or The Seattle Sound.  After all, the Kingsmen were from Portland Oregon.  The F.B.I. spent more time and money investigating the song  than they did investigating John Lennon.       J. Edgar Hoover finally decided that the lyrics were indecipherable.  Ain’t Rock’n’Roll Grand!  There are so many fascinating stories in this book that I can’t share them.  Suffice to say the book is worth the time you will invest in reading it.  I strongly recommend it.  As for me?  “…we gotta go now!”

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