Thursday, 26 July 2007

Noel Odom

......has been in touch and kindly given some info on his Tower 45s.

Noel Odom

MC2 - Or Something

MC2 - Or Something (Reprise 0577)

MC2 (MC2+, MC Squared) released four superb pop-psych 45's for Reprise and recorded an album that remained in the vault for over 30 years (recently put out on CD by band guitarist Randy Sterling). They also providing the title song for the film The First Time.

One of the great lost (and now thankfully re-discovered!) pop-psych bands of the 60s. Surely a band in need of the full Sundazed treatment, with album, singles and outtakes!!

This 45, their 1st, features strings by Ron Elliot and suprisingly has remained uncomped.

Flip is an Instrumental of the top side.

Captain Billys Whizbang - Paradise Of Your Mind / Kaleidoscope

Captain Billys Whizbang - Paradise Of Your Mind / Kaleidoscope (Edmar 1105. 1969)
Captain Billy's Wizbang are something of an obscurity, even in the world of obscure 60s psychedelia. My 45 was kindly comped by Ed on the U-Spaces CD "Lost Sixties Delights" and since then this fabulous piece of psychedelia has become slightly better known. However, despite many years I've been unable to find out anymore about the band that put out one of my favourite records. Until now that is. Keyboard player and songwriter Pat Portfolio has been in touch and very kindly filled me in on the bands story.
The roots of Captain Billy's Whizbang lie in The Merry Men, based out of New Jersey.
Prior to the Merry Men Pat had tasted a modicum of fame when he was drafted to perform with the band Fish 'n' Chips, who released Four Times Faster. The song was recorded by studio musicians and became a Top 40 hit in the New York area in 1965. The band needed a keyboard player to help fulfil live commitments and Pat came onboard, playing some large rock and rolls shows alongside big name acts and radio personalities (including Bruce Morrow).
Fish 'n' Chips - Four Times Faster
Fish 'n' Chips - This Whole Thing is Getting Out Of Hand
The Merry Men came mostly of the band being from Bergenfield, except for Pat who was living in Paramus and attending Fairleigh Dickinson University. Decked out in Robin Hood outfits the band consisted of Pat Portfolio (organ), Bobby Schaffner (Lead vocals), Paul Vanderbeck (guitar) and Bruce Stewart (drums) and came together around 1966.
They built up quite a sizable local following and played everything from soul to Procol Harum. They were also one of the few bands to include original material in their live set and this went down as well as the cover material. Despite undertaking a recording session no records were ever released by the band. They played mostly around the New Jersey and New York area but also travelled as far as Canada, despite all the members still being at school.
Pat would changed the name to Captain Billy's Whizbang after the comic of the same name from the 1920s, which was a more fitting name for a late 60s band. As the organ player, Pat played left-handed bass on the lower keys, which worked ok for live gigs but the band were looking to record and a bass player would expand the sound. The band's manager brought in Gary Van Scyoc to play bass. He would also sing and play some trumpet.
Pat Portfolio (organ player/songwriter), Bobby Schaffner (Lead vocals), Paul Vanderbeck (guitar), Bruce Stewart (drums), Gary Van Scyoc (bass and vocals).
Like Pat, Gary has also had tasted fame before joining the band. A few years early he was one of the co-writers of The Dynatones "Fife Piper", which had gone Top 10 in Philadelphia.
Dynatones - The Fife Piper

Like The Merry Men, Captain Billy's Whizbang would play a mixture of originals and covers (mostly heavier album cuts), adapted into their own style.
The band's manager also ran his own record label, Edmar, which included jazz organist Groove Holmes. The band entered RCA studios in New York City with the intention of recording of two tracks for release on the label. The band selected an original by Pat, "Paradise of your Mind", a superb slab of late 60s heavy psych, with heavy organ and piercing guitar and featuring Bobby on vocals, as well as a cover of Procol Harum's "Kaleidoscope". "Kaleidoscope" was brought to the band by Gary, who wanted to sing the song. Gary sang the song to Pat and told him the chords and he then come up with the songs heavy organ intro, arranging the basic parts for the rest of the band, as well as adding the wailing organ solo (Pat didn’t hear the original version of the song until last year!).
The band had additional time in the studio and recorded some of Pat's original compositions. As the band knew that the focus would be on the two tracks set for release most of the time was dedicated to those songs. Many of the additional tracks remained unfinished, but still exist on reel to reel.
Paradise Of Your Mind
5000 copies of "Paradise of your Mind" were pressed up on Edmar and released in late 1969.Sadly, not long after the release of the record the bands manager and Edmar label owner died in a tragic accident and the label and associated companies died with him. With no label or management to push the record it received no airplay and sank without a trace. The band lost its momentum, and with personal priorities changing within the band they called it a day around 1970 having only lasted around a year.
After the split most of the members would continue to work in the music business. Initially Pat formed a short-lived band with Gary called Blue Factory. They played long jams around obscure songs and were popular with local musicians, but didn't pull in the right crowds for club owners to give them enough gigs.
Pat continues to write and record and has recently completed a soundtrack for a sci-fi eBook to be released later this year.
Gary would go on to play with Elephant's Memory, Bo Diddley and later John Lennon, playing with Lennon at Madison Square Garden.
Thanks to Pat here is a remastered version of "Paradise of your Mind". The track has a deeper tone balance and improved bass. It also includes a slightly different ending.
Paradise Of Your Mind (remastered)

To purchase the first legal download of both sides of this 45 (recently remastered), please click here

Menagerie - Good Morning 6.5

Menagerie - Good Morning 6.5 (RCA 74-0464)

Let's continue with the Sunshine pop theme, while I try and convince myself that it is actually almost August.

Flip is "Where Did The Good Times Go"

Easy Touch - The Flim Flam Man

Easy Touch - The Flim Flam Man (Decca 32129)

Not a patch on the Velvet Seed song of the same name, but a nice piece of 60s pop.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Eighth Day - Raining Sunshine

Eighth Day - Raining Sunshine (Kapp 894)

Oh how we wish. Here in the UK we can but only dream.....

Monday, 23 July 2007

Floyd and Jerry with The Counterpoints - Believe In Things / Girl

Floyd and Jerry with The Counterpoints - Believe In Things / Girl (Presta 1003. 1966)

Jangly Beat from Phoenix, Arizona.

Apparently quite a prolific band, although this 45 is the best of the bunch.

For the full story on this band check out Ben Chaput's excellent Voyages Into Folk-Rock Vol.2

John Fred and the Playboy Band

John Fred scored big with the pop hit 'Judy In Disguise [With Glasses]', but don't let that put you off. John Fred and the Playboy Band put out some cool 45s. Here's a couple of them....

John Fred and the Playboy Band - Outta My Head (Paula 247. 1966)

John Fred and the Playboy Band - Hey Hey Bunny (Paula 294. 1968)

There were plenty of cool garage & psych 45s on Paula, isnt it about time there was a decent retrospective of this label!