Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Day After The Sabbath 155: Space Machines pt1 [60s-70s Obscure Heavy 45s]

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Firstly, i'd like to promote the hard work of my friend Kev Stevens, who's been making TDATS podcasts for a few years. Hot off the cloud this morning is his brand-new show, based on Volume 81, the Norwegian special. You can hear it right now at mixcloud.com/TDATSRadio, where you can also subscribe to his future shows.

Welcome to Volume 155. This is a collection of 45s from my personal searches over the last year or so. Some are private press rarities, some are quite easily available, but in all cases they are singles that don't seem to have had any exposure, so this is their opportunity, in the same spirit as the "Lovely Jugglies" series of amazing rare singles donated by DJ David Juggles (volumes 150 and 152). I did do an earlier collection of heavy 45s a long time ago, v70 School Daze (link), but that tended to be singles on well-documented labels, by mostly well-known (to rarity fans) acts. I also made a collection of Ohio singles back on v140 (link).

Today's new series will hopefully continue to be very rare private press, or generally unheard and unknown singles, and I think I will call it the Space Machines series, this being Space Machines pt1. If you are wondering why that name, it's pretty simple, after getting enough tracks collected for this volume, I was amazed to see that there were two songs with exactly the same name by pure coincidence; "Space Machine", as you can see below......I like to think of such things as divine inspiration!

So this volume brings us a fresh and pleasingly diverse bunch of acts, from the funk of Fandango and Crazy Horse, through the mind-blowing heavy metal of MFX, the blues and southern swagger of Eastwood Peak and Southern Trust, to the weird and wonderful one-offs of Genghis Khan's Mongol Horde and Meloncolony.

TRACKS

01. Alan Caddy Orchestra and Singers (UK) - Paranoid [Black Sabbath cover] (1970)
02. Fandango (New York USA) - A Message From The Mind To The Universe (1970)
03. MFX (Ohio USA) - Rick's Boogie (1979)
04. Genghis Khan and The Mongol Horde (San Diego USA) - Asian Invasion (1979)
05. Baker Gurvitz Army (UK) - Space Machine (1975)
06. Free Fare (Florida USA) - Birth Of A Soldier (1975)
07. Canyon (Ohio USA) - Boogie Down Broadway (1975)
08. Fear (Ontario Canada) - Bubblefunk (1970)
09. Whiteheet (Ontario Canada) - Devil's Knight (1977)
10. Crazy Horse (Memphis USA) - High On Lovin' (1969)
11. The Ram Rockers (Massachusetts USA) - King Kool (1978)
12. Hughes Blues (Ohio USA) - Land Of Prosperity (1969)
13. Eastwood Peak (Massachusetts USA) - Ain't No Sinner (1977)
14. Southern Trust (Florida USA) - Sing It Along With Me (1979)
15. Universe (USA) - Space Machine (1979)
16. MAX (New York USA) - Tin Soldier [Small Faces cover] (1973)
17. Meloncolony (Iowa USA) - The Wizard [Black Sabbath cover]

(bonus track) 18. Hot Flash - King Kool (1977)



Alan Caddy Orchestra - Paranoico [Black Sabbath cover] (1972)
From the 1972 Campeonas De Inglaterra Vol III E.P. on the Mexican Orfeon label. Played by "Various Artists". Campeonas De Inglaterra seems to be a series of covers of UK hits, released on various latin labels such as Orfeon and Dimsa. After a very useful response to my enquiries on Reddit (link) I have discovered that this was originally recorded by Alan Caddy Orchestra And Singers on the "Six Top Hits" EP in 1970.

At this time Alan Caddy appears to have been a British act that made many cheap cover compilations of pop hits. It's possible that the singer is Scotsman Danny Street, who sung on other Caddy records and also on a single with Jeff Beck (link). Intriguingly, this recording of Paranoid has also surfaced on a single under the name Bob Christian, again licensed by PYE, on Argentinian and Venezuelan labels (link) . I guess that Bob Christian may be a made-up name entirely. According to Discogs there was even a rumour that it's a pseudonym of Billy Bond, mentioned briefly back on Argentinian TDATS vol 137 (link) and Bolivian TDATS vol 151 (link).

Fandango - A Message From The Mind To The Universe (1970)
Promo single. Produced by Bob Bourassa on New York's Big Tree Records label.
This is a great rocking funk side, just the kind I like with heavy guitar riffage, and some interesting lyrics about the state of the planet, just as relevant now as in 1970. Written by James Tatetum (maybe a label printing error of 'Tatum'?). A quick internet search reveals that there was more than one "James Tatum" in he field of jazz / funk / soul at the time, but I cannot discern if any of them are the "James Tatetum" credited on the label. 


MFX – Maschine oF X-tremes
MFX - Rick's Boogie (1979)
Here's an absolute bonehead metal monster from Marion, Ohio. This one comes across as a country / southern rock band who decided to try and out-metal Molly Hatchet by playing like Judas Priest. I have never heard anything quite like it before. They beat Blackhorse (link) on heaviness in 1979 and i'd love to have heard an album! "Maschine oF X-tremes" (MFX) is Rick "Big Rig" Spradlin (guitars), George Bjorling (guitars), Scott Jackson (drums), Larry Spradlin (bass) and Tom "Blackjack" Favors (vocals). The band just lets rip for the full 5 minutes, the simple lyrics are only there to get you as amped as the music, and this is an unashamed rug-cutter all the way, "Rick's Boogie" and then some! The flipside is also great, a mid-paced grinder to perfectly counterpoint the boogie. What a perfect single. It was recorded at Suma Studios, Painesville Ohio, by engineer Ken Hamann.

Joe Walsh, James Gang and others have recorded there, up to modern scene bands such as Fistula. According to Rick Spradlin, Molly Hatchet was just setting up there while MFX were recording.

Suma Recording Studio, Painesville Ohio
Suma Recording Studio, Painesville Ohio


Genghis Khan and The Mongol Horde - Asian Invasion (1979)
Written by Larry Gatpandan & Pat Shea. Arranged and produced by Tamerlane. Sound mixer: Jeff Mattazaro. Recorded at Natural Sound Studios San Diego. This is a very charming, punkinshly-amateurish & DIY in some ways, side of hard-rocking punk, although the guitar is great. I am by no means an expert on punk, would you call this early hardcore punk? Just a great fun ride all the way, and I am certainly reminded of Bad New's "Warriors Of Genghis Khan" as well (link). The full band was Larry Gatpandan (vocals as Genghis Kahn, Attila the Hun & Tamerlane), Patrick Shea (guitar as Leif Erickson), Robert "Bobby The Bass" Heck (bass as Eric the Red) and Jeff Perez (drums as Lapu-Lapu). The band quite rightly give tribute on the back cover to Bruce Lee, "The Greatest Martial Artist Of All Time". I have seen this described as a "novelty" or "comedy" record, but i'm not sure it was intended that way. What do you think?

Genghis Khan and The Mongol Horde - Asian Invasion (1979)
Genghis Khan and The Mongol Horde rear sleeve 


Baker Gurvitz Army - Space Machine (1975)
Here's a cool slowburner with a touch of T-Rex / Bowie, it also reminds me of something from Neil Merryweather's Space Rangers glam-space rock period. It's from one of the better-known acts in this set by far. These names will probably be familiar to all of you already, with the UK's Gurvitz brothers leading Gun, Three Man Army and other TDATS-appearing acts, all of which I dedicated a very detailed volume to back on #125: Race With The Devil [Gurvitz Brothers special] (link).

Our drummer here Ginger Baker needs no introduction either of course. The band at this time was completed by singer Stephen "Snips" Parsons, who is maybe best known as singer for Sharks on both their albums (link), the band started by bassist Andy Fraser after he left Free. As far as I can tell, this particular recording was never included on a Baker Gurvitz Army studio album, and the 45 was only distributed as a promo, so until I recently bought it, (you may be glad to know you can buy this very cheap), I had never heard it anywhere, except for live versions of the song on various live records.

Free Fare - Birth Of A Soldier (1975)
Written and sung by Mike Putman. This is another funky number, from an unusual act that requires some explanation. Free Fare was not a fixed band, but rather a concept of the Young American Showcase company in Florida, who would enroll an assortment musicians from around the USA every year to play during school terms. Apparently they would visit schools and play during an assembly, and then play again in the evening for a ticket price to any kids that wanted to see a whole show.

They started in 1969 and continued into the 1980s, there is a Reddit post (link) where a lot of people recall their stories of seeing them, and buying posters & singles which they sold at the shows. It was quite an exciting thing for some kids who had never seen a live rock band before i'm sure, and a very welcome diversion from the usual school drudgery. You can find these singles cheaply on Discogs, although this particular one is the only one I have heard, so I cannot vouch for the quality of the others!

Canyon - Boogie Down Broadway (1975)
Here's a catchy side of commercially orientated boogie / glam, still with some satisfyingly heavy moves. The band was Richard Carmichael (drums), Bill Frasier (guitar), Randy Davidson (keys) and Mark Lance (bass / vocals). Most of those names met in Ohio's Black River High School, in a band called The Es Shades, who made a couple of sought-after '60s psychedelic pop singles themselves. It seems Canyon called it a day after a few years of existence and a couple of singles that just about grazed the Billboard 100. There's not much else to find, but keyboard player Randy Davidson played in Hungry Tiger in 1977, with an album I have not had the chance to hear yet.

L-R Richard Carmichael, Bill Frasier (top), Randy Davidson (bottom), Mark Lance


Fear - Bubblefunk (1970)
Here's a mysterious rarity from Ontario Canada. Fear seem to have been a simple head-down, hell-for-leather rock n roll band that drilled riffs home in an addictive fashion like Link Wray. They had two singles out, both produced by Merv Buchanan, who also worked with some well-regarded Canadian bands like Bent Wind and Cargo. Thanks to citizenfreak.com (link) for the info and you can read more there.


Whiteheet - Devil's Knight (1977)
I was delighted to discover today that this single with two good sides is not as mysterious as I had previously thought. A bit of Googling has revealed that the singer went on to acclaim in Canadian jazz, Joe Coughlin (website). Here's an excerpt from vernonmorningstar.com (link) ".....before that I was a rock and roll guy for close to 10 years in the Windsor area,” said Coughlin, the frontman for Whiteheet, a successful Ontario metal band in the late ‘70s. “My parents said we can never hear you with all those loud guitars. They were big fans of Sinatra and we heard all that music growing up, it was just a natural progression.” So Coughlin got a haircut, traded his jeans for a suit and tie, and went from Zeppelin to Sinatra".

The a-side "Deceiver" sounds more like Peter Frampton than heavy metal. Our pick here, Devil's Knight, has an unusual sound, it clearly has some heavy metal influence but it's very melodic and has a great, buzzing psychedelic guitar tone, with a hard rock structure more so than metal. All in all it's got a novel sound which is probably best described simply as, Whiteheet

Whiteheet  - Joe Coughlin
Whiteheet with Joe Coughlin (center)


Crazy Horse - High On Lovin' (1969)
Here's our third funky cut for this volume. I could find no information when searching on the band's name (it doesn't help that I get hundreds of Neil Young results of course), but I did manage to piece together some clues by searching the names printed on the labels in relation to Memphis Tennessee. I believe there's a very good chance that "Sherrill Park" and "R. Yancy" are two members of a Memphis band that made an album a couple of years after this single, Cymarron (discogs, wiki), they are  Sherrill Parks and Rick Yancey. Sherrill was also the frontman of Silver City Band (link), after Cymarron.

Sherrill Parks in Silver City Band
Sherrill Parks
(source)
On the back cover of the Cymarron LP there is a bio of the band which states that Sherill and Rick were in bands together in the sixties and Crazy Horse was probably one of them. I'd like to hear some more of these guys' sixties stuff as their later records are mostly light country pop rock. I have not been able to find info on the third name on the Crazy Horse labels, Don F. Gordon. A viewer of my youtube channel (link) has pointed out that this song also appears on an album by Doc Kirby & Co in 1973, who also recorded in Tennessee, with writing credits to S. Park. That version appears to be the identical audio track to Crazy Horse but with a different singer doing the vocals. Yet more mysteries to unravel there...

The Ram Rockers - King Kool (1978)
This is another novel track that mixes different styles. To me it sounds like an mid '70s hard rock band trying to incorporate some late '70s new wave sound, with unusual results that have grown on me the more I listen to it. When I first discovered this single, I thought it would remain a total obscurity, but after a bit of Googling I quickly discovered a connection to another band that I vaguely remembered seeing posted on blogs and even in the TDATS Facebook group (link) many years past, and that band is Hot Flash, from Massachusetts.

To my surprise I noticed that Hot Flash's 1977 private press album "First Attack! They'll Never Take Us Alive" (link) also contains a song called King Kool, and it is indeed the same song but in a different, longer version, which I assume is the original version, before The Ram Rockers recorded it. Ram Rockers does share the frontman from Hot Flash, Fredric "Muff" Schwenk, I don't know if any other Hot Flash guys were in Ram Rockers, but it's very possible as they share the same producer, Pat Costa and writer credits for "S. J. Mongeon", and they are are both on the small Haverhill MA label, Rockwell Records.

So it appears that after the Hot Flash album, which has a definite prog rock / early AOR sound, with very Roger Dean album art, some or all of the band returned as The Ram Rockers, with a different sound more contemporary to the late '70s. For instance, Fred Schwenk played flute on the Hot Flash version, but the Ram Rockers version has a more modern, bare-bones production with prog embellishments like flute removed. I have included the Hot Flash version at the end of this comp, it's interesting to hear the differences! 

Hughes Blues - Land Of Prosperity (1969)
This is a fantastic side of pure blues rock which hits you in the face from the first bar. Another single which initially seemed impossibly obscure, but I have found more than I expected. A resource I have used many times, Ohio's Buckeyebeat (link), has a very small amount of info but you can find substantially more about the guitarist Robert Hughes who was Hughes Blues, along with another guy sur-named Bruggaman, in a Blues Blast magazine interview published in 2023 (link). Robert is currently part of trio "Hughes, Hall and Denny" who seem to work mostly as Teeny Tucker's (wiki) backing group.  There is plenty of recent video on youtube to see Hughes playing with Teeny at blues festivals, and here's Hughes solo (link).

Robert Hughes & Teeny Tucker (2018)


Eastwood Peak - Ain't No Sinner (1977)
Written by Dean Glow. Produced by John Visnaskas.
Here's a great side of hard-rocking boogie with nice fuzzy slide guitar. The band's origins lay in North Middlesex High School, Massachusetts, after going through various phases such as The Confiscated Doorknob and Daybreak. Dean Glow (keyboards, bass, guitar, sax, vocals) and John Visnaskas's brother Kevin Visnaskas (guitar, harmonica, vocals) were members and the band was re-uniting as recently as 2019, at The 5th Annual Johnny Appleseed Craft Beer Festival, which sounds like the perfect event for this good-time boogie! You can read the entire detailed history of the band at their sadly defunct website by the magic of the Wayback Machine (eastwoodpeak.com) and there is a facebook page which has not been updated since the main site went down (link).

Eastwood Peak band
Eastwood Peak


Southern Trust - Sing It Along With Me
Southern Trust - Sing It Along With Me (1979)

Here's a really great, upbeat southern rock side from Florida, with some excellent slide guitar. I can find very little information about Southern Trust, but their 1980 album was re-issued on CD / streaming and is easily available. So their album came out the year after this single, and is good but indicates a move away to a more mainstream sound like a southern version of The Cars with slide guitar still intact, still good music though, and I like The Cars myself just fine. The album had four players, but this single, written by Danny Lynen (guitar, vocals), may have been made when they were a three-piece. The other names on the album are John Allen (guitar, vocals), Matt Anderson (drums, piano, vocals) and Glenn Weinman (bass, vocals).

Universe - Space Machine (1979)
Universe - Space Machine (1979)
Here's a charming private press single that sounds like Hawkwind's kid brother. It's one of the most obscure things here, which conversely is also one of the few things here that has seen a release on streaming services since I discovered it a while ago. I don't know anything about this single but I get the impression it's from quite a young band, and the names indicated in Discogs are Robert Espodito TerrasiJohn Michael Dyer and Michael Peter Rolla. Both sides are now on Spotify. (link)

Max - Tin Soldier [Small Faces cover] (1973)
This is an exotic hard rock cover of a great pop song from The Small Faces, which itself was penned by by Steve Marriott, with vocal assistance from P. P. Arnold. There is a fantastic TV performance with Arnold on youtube (link) and it's a great example of a pop song full of hard rock moves, so I can see why heavy bands would want to cover it. It was a mild hit in the UK, reaching No. 9 here, but has become just as well-known by all the covers that exist, from artists such as TDATS-appearing bands like Sopworth Camel (vol130), to bigger names like The Scorpions and Lou Gramm. The most interesting thing about the 45's label is the production credit for David 'Rock' Feinstein, a name that has come up in TDATS more than once, including the Elf track used in vol 31 (link), and a track of his own band in the American Metal volume (link). Feinstein's longest-running career success has been in The Rods, who had a new album out this year (2024).

Someone kindly posted some info about MAX on my youtube channel, "MAX was: David "Rock" Feinstein (of Elf, The Rods on lead guitar), Mike Ferrante (12 string), George Day (keyboards), Howie Castle (drums), Jack Belle (bass), Dan Elliott (lead vocal), Sandy Bigtree (backing vocal), Ron Wray (producer). Recorded at Dayson Studio in East Syracuse in 1973." This enabled me to find a blog post from 2012 (link) that mentions MAX, explaining it was a studio band made up of the Syracuse-based artists and producers mentioned above.

Fascinatingly, MAX's Tin Soldier appeared on a '70s vinyl compilation called The History Of Syracuse Music VI (link), under the band name of "Sandy Bigtree & Max". This comp also includes no less than two Feinstein/Dio-era ELF songs. Regarding MAX, the blurb on the back says: "The name Ron Wray has long been synonymous with Syracuse music. Ron has been active with many local groups in the past ten years. He produced the Fallen Angels, Livin' Ennd, Headstone II and Sleep E. Hollow records." It goes on the explain that Wray masterminded MAX to fulfill a dream of creating a hit-making Syracusian super-group, he selected the players and chose Tin Soldier as the material for Max's single. He chose Feinstein to play guitar because "....he's one of the finest guitar players i've ever seen in central New York......creating a huge sound that you would normally expect to accompany The Who or Deep Purple". 

Meloncolony - The Wizard [Black Sabbath cover]
Sadly we reach the end of this set. Here's our second Sabbath cover, and it's a really interesting single on an Iowa label. The catalogue number puts it somewhere around 1971 by my estimation. Again we have a band doing an early cover of Black Sabbath, i'm guessing from the sound that this wasn't made too long after the original, with a more fuzzy, psychedelic approach.  In particular, the stripped-down production and keyboards give this a very different feel.

On the flipside, they give the same treatment to Speed King by Deep Purple. I have seen this for sale on auctions and in one case the seller claimed it was from Des Moines. They also said it came out in 1969, a year before the originals were released, which is hard to believe, so you can decide for yourself if you want to take notice of that. Finally, I must give the band a hats-off for their name, which I had read many times as "Melancholy" before suddenly realising it is melon-colony, and laughed my head off as a result. Gotcha! Soon after posting this,  a helpful member of the TDATS facebook group has linked us to a picture of Meloncolony (link), this link also shows the band as a three-piece with names left to right below: Wayne Groff (keyboards), Bob Curtis (drums) and Chuck Vail (vocals).

Meloncolony Iowa band
Meloncolony on stage (source)
Thanks for listening to this episode. It's time to get in my space machine and blast off. If you have any comments to make or information to contribute, please do so on this Blogger post, or one of my social sites listed below. I hope you enjoyed listening as much as I enjoyed making it, until next time, live long and prosper! Rich

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Further listening:
The Day After The Sabbath 70: School Daze [all heavy singles]
The Day After The Sabbath 150: Lovely Jugglies Pt 1 Rare 45s From the DJ Juggles collection
The Day After The Sabbath 35: Windmolen Van Doom [first Dutch special]
The Day After The Sabbath 140: Greetings From Ohio [Obscure Ohio 45s]

TDATS social links

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6 comments:

  1. Umm, there's a track after the Meloncolony single?

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  2. many thanks Rich

    ReplyDelete
  3. Whiteheet, MFX and Hot Flash were my favorites on this compilation.

    Keep up the good work!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks yeah I particularly like MFX and Whiteheet too

      Delete