Thursday, 25 October 2007

Terry Brandon/Rikki Henderson & The Beatmen

Terry Brandon & The Beatmen - Don't Bring Me Down (Embassy 662. 1964)

Terry & The Beatmen give the Pretties a run for their money. A great 45 and one the best Embassy covers I've come across. I have no idea who Terry Brandon was, but assume he was one of the many professional singers on the roster, many of whom came from out of the big-band era. Most of the back-up 'bands' on Embassy consisted of whoever was available to play on the recording date. By the sounds of it The Beatmen could have consisted on some well known names, anybody know?

Rikki Henderson & The Beatmen - Ain't That Lovin' You Baby

The Beatmen crop up again on the flipside, this time backing up Rikki Henderson. Rikki was a vocalist with the Denny Boyce Orchestra and won a recording contract with Embassy after entering a talen contest run by teen mag Mirabelle. He became one of the labels more prolifice artists between 1957 and 1964. As with Terry Brandon, Rikki clearly comes from a different era to the RnB guys of the day, but once again The Beatmen save the day with some cool guitar.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Crystal Garden - Flash/Peach Fuzz Forest

Crystal Garden - Flash/Peach Fuzz Forest (Bay Town BT012. 1968)

Here's one I should have posted a long time ago! Better late than never....

Out of San Leandro in the East Bay area of San Francisco, this psych band started out playing the local high schools and battle of the bands before moving onto support slots at the bigger venues in the bay area, including the Fillmore.

They recorded this, their only 45, for the small Bay Town label in Hayward, CA. (who also released gems by the Cave Dwellers and the Soultons). Presumibly taking the song title from the line in Dave Diamond and The Higher Elevation's 'The Diamond Mine', this is an excellent fuzzed up wah wah psych with a cool jazzy break. The b-side is slightly more reserved, but cool none the less.

The band split shortly after playing Oregons bizzare state-sponsored Vortex I festival in 1970.

For more info on the Crystal Garden and other East Bay garage bands pick up a copy of Bruce Tahsler’s excellent "The San Francisco East Bay Scene: Garage Bands From the 60’s Then and Now". You can order a copy direct from Bruce here.