Together with fellow New Yorkers Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, Bob Feldman wrote the Angels’ “My Boyfriend’s Back” in 1964 and the McCoys’ (and later the Merseys’ and David Bowie’s) “Sorrow” in 1965. The trio of Brooklyn Jews also formed the faux-Australian beat group, The Strangeloves, who wrote and recorded “I Want Candy,” “Night Time” and “Cara-Lin.” The trio also produced (but didn’t write) the McCoys’ “Hang On Sloopy.” Feldman went on to work with other acts (including producing Link Wray’s 1971 self-titled LP), and among his three children is actor Corey Feldman!
These November 1976 tracks were recorded during the sessions for the bandâ€™s 1977 debut album, and served as a studio soundcheck for engineer Glen Kolotkin. With tape rolling, the band ran through eleven songs, live and without second takes or overdubs. The on-the-fly mixes arenâ€™t perfect (though quite good!), but the sound quality is excellent, and the spontaneity, energy and attitude they capture show off a more raw and edgy (and at times wonderfully adolescent) side of the band than did the debut LP.
The song list includes early Rubinoos originals and covers drawn from the bandâ€™s varied influences. Jon Rubinâ€™s voice is sweet and the signature group harmonies are tight, but thereâ€™s a level of aggression thatâ€™s more reflective of the bandâ€™s live set than their studio recordings. Hearing the group rage through the Psycotic Pineappleâ€™s â€œI Want Her So Badâ€ (written by the Rubinoosâ€™ Tommy Dunbar) shows off the bandsâ€™ shared roots, and the inclusion of the national anthem of bubblegum music, â€œSugar, Sugar,â€ as well as a mash-up of â€œPepsi Generationâ€ with King Curtisâ€™ â€œMemphis Soul Stewâ€ displays the sort of provocative choices with which they bewildered live audiences.
The band covered the Beatlesâ€™ â€œShe Loves Youâ€ and â€œI Want to Hold Your Handâ€ with talent and joy, and added to their catalog of DeFranco Family covers (which began with their first Beserkley single, â€œGorillaâ€) with a raunchy take on â€œHeartbeat, Itâ€™s a Lovebeat.â€ Rubinâ€™s soaring vocal on the bubblegum-soul â€œNooshna Kavoltaâ€ is nearly overrun by the charging guitar, bass and drums, and the Venturesâ€™â€œWalk Donâ€™t Runâ€ provided a young Tommy Dunbar the opportunity to show off his formidable guitar-playing chops. Closing the album is a cover of Jonathan Richmanâ€™s â€œGovernment Center,â€ complementing the earlier Beserkley Charbusters version on which the Rubinoos backed Richman.
The homemade pop sides of a Welsh indie-rock psych band
Although one might connect the pop sounds of KEYS latest album to their earlier incarnation as the indie band Murry the Hump, the bubblegum-styled opener â€œThis Side of Luvâ€ was no doubt transported through a tartan-patterned fissure in the space-time continuum; itâ€™s worthy of segueing between Nick Loweâ€™s â€œBay City Rollers We Love Youâ€ and â€œRollers Show.â€ The psychedelia of the bandâ€™s previous album, Bring Me the Head of Jerry Garcia, can be heard in the moody organ of â€œCargoesâ€ and the Dukes of the Stratosphere-styled â€œLeave Your Mind Behind,â€ but glam is the touchstone for â€œTrick of the Light,â€ and the powerpop of Badfinger and Teenage Fanclub for â€œPhasesâ€ and â€œThe Strain.â€
Originally released in 1982 amid the MTV/New Wave boom, this San Francisco bandâ€™s only full-length album shared some of the boomâ€™s pop sensibilities, but with a craft that was more musically rich than its video-enhanced counterparts. Hayesâ€™ roots in jazz might have informed some of the chords and harmonies, but her musical training never hindered the albumâ€™s pop joy, finding expression in a depth of songwriting that was often missing from the mainstream. The bandâ€™s indie label (Slash) and its corporate distributor (Warner Brothers) failed to turn any of the albumâ€™s tracks into hit singles (though â€œGirls Like Meâ€ and â€œShellyâ€™s Boyfriendâ€ both appeared on the soundtrack of Valley Girl), and Slash dropped the band after this album. A follow-up EP, Brave New Girl, was self-released in 1984, and marked the end of a surprisingly short run for a group whose debut was so brimming with life, and whose songwriter proved to have a great deal more to say (notably penning â€œHave A Heartâ€ and â€œLove Letterâ€ for Bonnie Raittâ€™s Nick of Time).
The original album was reissued in 2007 by Wounded Bird, but is augmented here by the follow-up EP, the pre-LP single version of â€œShellyâ€™s Boyfriendâ€ (and its flip â€œRochambeau,â€ released as The Punts), and a trio of demos that failed to make the album. The debut opens with the exuberant one-two punch of â€œGirls Like Meâ€ and the cautionary sibling shout-out â€œShellyâ€™s Boyfriend.â€ Hayesâ€™ slow piano intro doesnâ€™t tip off the punchy rhythm of â€œSeparating,â€ and her organ and coy vocal give â€œDum Funâ€ a hint of new wave before her solo and Paul Davisâ€™ scorching guitar give the throwaway-titled song some soulful musical heft. The original â€œCoverageâ€ would find subsequent cover on David Crosbyâ€™s 1993 release Thousand Roads, giving Hayesâ€™ songwriting the exposure its lyrics seemed to beg for.
1982 debut EP of irreverent, pointed and catchy pop-punk
San Franciscoâ€™s Pop-O-Pies may have been one of punk rockâ€™s most melodic bands. Punk in attitude more than sound, but punk nonetheless. They alienated and then enthralled early audiences by playing a set that consisted entirely of the Grateful Deadâ€™s â€œTruckinâ€™,â€ and wrote original songs that sarcastically appraised Catholics and cast cops as donut eating fascists. A 1983 opening slot for Iggy Pop in Seattle so agitated the crowd that by the time the headliner appeared the mood was incredibly dark; fittingly, Popâ€™s set ended in 30 minutes after some stage-dancing audience members toppled the speaker stack into the crowd.
The bandâ€™s debut, the six-song The White EP, was a college radio staple, with two versions of â€œTruckinâ€™â€ (one pop-punk, the other styled like â€œRapperâ€™s Delightâ€), an ode to Timothy Leary (which the LSD guru apparently took to playing at his public appearances), the hard-driving rhythm guitar monotone â€œFascists Eat Donuts,â€ sing-song reggae â€œThe Catholics Are Attacking,â€ and punk-styled lament â€œAnna Ripped Me Off.â€ The Pop-O-Pies simultaneously take the piss out of both their subjects and their listeners with songs that are funny, ironic, serious, irreverent, pointed and catchy, all at the same time.
Triple-disc collection of catchy pop (power and otherwise)
Jangly guitars? Check. Catchy melodies? Check. Broken hearts and vocal harmonies? Check and check. Three discs filled to the brim with three hours and forty-five minutes of pop (power and otherwise) recorded in studios and bedrooms all around the world. After a couple of volumes on the Del Fi label, more than a decade on Not Lame, and another seven volumes on Bruce Bordeenâ€™s purpose-built Pop Geek Heaven, IPO bestowed its annual compilation (which became a triple-disc affair with volume five) on Omnivore with volume twenty-one. The latest collection, featuring bands that have played the annual IPO festival, and some that have not, is a solid entry in the series. 69 tracks that include a few luminaries (Bird Streets, Peter Holsapple, Van Duren, Kimberly Rew, and others), and a load of bands you may not have heard of.
There are too many highlights to name them all, but standouts include the joyously wordy verses and harmony choruses of Peckerâ€™s â€œThey Painted With Their Fingers,â€ the Popdudesâ€™ dance floor-filling cover of the Wondersâ€™ â€œDance With Me,â€ Wolf Circusâ€™ compassionate indie pop â€œI Will Answer,â€ the Posersâ€™ Beach Boys-tinged psych â€œThe Time and Place,â€ the magical mix of Rain Paradeâ€™s drone and Simon & Garfunkelâ€™s duet harmony on Harrison Clockâ€™s â€œDivine,â€ the catchy rhythm guitar on the Brothers Steveâ€™s delicious bubblegum â€œShe,â€ the Knack tribute sounds of Japanâ€™s The Sharona on their original â€œOh My Girl,â€ the full-throated harmonies and drippy guitar of Three Hour Tourâ€™s â€œLonely Place,â€ the Pat Benetar power of Slybootsâ€™ â€œThe Fall,â€ the twin lead guitars and emotional rebirth of the Jeremy Bandâ€™s â€œJoy Comes in the Morning,â€ the grungy psych of the Anderson Councilâ€™s â€œLord Cornelius Plum,â€ the aptly named Zombies of The Stratosphereâ€™s groovy cover of Billy Nicholls‘ (and Dana Gillespieâ€™s) â€œLondon Social Degree,â€ and the Last Hurrahâ€™s set-ending â€œSaturday in the Sunshine.â€
Expanded edition of McKuenâ€™s popular 1969 hits album
San Francisco poet and singer Rod McKuen was as popular with the people as he was reviled by critics. The latter labeled his works schmaltzy and facile, while the former bought his books and records, and attended his readings and concerts in tremendous numbers. The gap between his lack of critical accolades and his surfeit of popular acclaim likely hinges on the resonance his plainspoken words of isolation and spirituality struck with an audience who might otherwise not read poetry. The raspy earnestness of his vocal performances was often parodied, but the loneliness that threaded through his songs struck a deep emotional chord with listeners, and his uplifting messages provided hope.
Despite the sales of his records, McKuenâ€™s chart success as a musical artist was limited; more successful were his songs, which were recorded by Oliver (â€œJeanâ€), Terry Jacks (â€œSeasons in the Sun,â€ an English translation of Jacques Brelâ€™s â€œLe Moribondâ€), Damita Jo (â€œIf You Go Away,â€ a translation of Brelâ€™s â€œNe Me Quitte Pasâ€), Perry Como (â€œI Think of You,â€ co-written with Frances Lai), Frank Sinatra (â€œLoveâ€™s Been Good for Meâ€), Perry Como (â€œI Think of Youâ€), the Kingston Trio (â€œAlly Ally, Oxen Freeâ€), Waylon Jennings (â€œDoesnâ€™t Anybody Know My Nameâ€), and many more. Other writings – notably â€œListen to the Warmâ€ and â€œA Cat Named Sloopyâ€ – remain fan favorites in both their original poetic form, and when subsequently set to song. The former is included here as a bonus track, the latter, unfortunately not.
The dream duets of a singer, producer and music fan
The role of vintage Top 40 radio canâ€™t be understated in its influence and impact on the generation of musicians who grew up in the â€˜60s and â€˜70s. In the years before consultants balkanized commercial radio into genre islands, AM radio offered a regionally-influenced mix of pop, rock, folk, country and soul that fueled the taste and imagination of both listeners and artists. Olson grew up in Austin, Texas listening to long-gone (and now surprisingly obscure) KNOW-AM, taking in the wide variety of influences reflected in this eclectic collection of covers. This follow-up to 2013â€™s Have Harmony Will Travel cherrypicks Olsonâ€™s deep musical memories of the Buffalo Springfield, Searchers, Governor Jimmy Davis, David Allan Coe, and adds songs, such as the previously unrecorded â€œHaunting Me,â€ that she picked up in her musical travels.
Olson pairs herself with compatriots and idols that include Gene Clark, Percy Sledge, Peter Noone, Terry Reid, Mick Taylor and Mare Winningham. The album opens with the Long Rydersâ€™ Stephen McCarthy joining Olsen for a superb cover of Patty Lovelessâ€™ 1989 country hit â€œTimber, Iâ€™m Falling in Love.â€ Slowed to a deliberate tempo, the duet parlays the originalâ€™s ecstatic declaration into a mature, deep-gazing conversation of magnetic mutual attraction. For much of the album, Olson acts more as ringmaster than singing partner, drafting participants (including former Bee Geesâ€™ guitarist Vince Melouney for a gallop through Governor Jimmy Davisâ€™ â€œShackles & Chainsâ€), selecting song with the ears and heart of a music fan, singing harmonies and producing tracks.
As a producer, Olson fits the guests with songs, complimenting the pairings with nostalgia-tinged, guitar-based arrangements. Peter Noone rekindles the emotional throb of his early days with a cover of the Searchersâ€™ â€œGoodbye My Love,â€ and Olson provokes appealing contrast in pairing the gravel of Terry Reidâ€™s voice with the gentility of â€œScarlet Ribbons.â€ She joins Eagle Timothy B. Schmit and steel player Rusty Young for the Buffalo Springfield B-sideÂ â€œA Childâ€™s Claim to Fame,â€ and adds harmony to actress Mare Winninghamâ€™s fetching cover of Gene Clarkâ€™s â€œAfter the Storm.â€ The latter track, along with Percy Sledgeâ€™s â€œHonest as Daylight,â€ I See Hawks in L.A.â€™s â€œBossier City,â€ and Gene Clarkâ€™s â€œDel Gato,â€ were all previously released, but fit seamlessly among the newly recorded performances.
After Don Kirshnerâ€™s falling out with the Monkees he fell in as music director for the Archies – a cartoon band with no creative aspirations of their own. With Ron Dante singing lead, and Jeff Barry, Andy Kim and others contributing top-quality songs, the Archies climbed onto the charts, peaking with the national anthem of bubblegum, â€œSugar Sugar.â€ In addition to their success on the music charts, the Archies also had a top-rated Saturday morning TV show, all of which prompted their production company, Filmation, to try and replicate their dual success. The result was the 1970-71 Groovy Goolies, a monster-themed cartoon that featured two songs per episode, one performed by the monster trio Drac, Frankie and Wolfie, and the other by a rotating lineup of guest bands such as the Bare Bones and the Rolling Headstones. In reality, as with the Archies, the songs were performed by music industry pros, in this case, Dick Monda (better known as Daddy Dewdrop of â€œChick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)â€ fame), the Challengersâ€™ Richard Delvy and Ed Fournier, and studio aces Larry Carlton and Ron Tutt.
The 1970s Memphis rock scene was fertile but largely ignored in its time. Big Star rose to influence and renown only decades after they failed to make a commercial impression and disbanded. Others on the scene – Icewater, Rock City, the Hot Dogs, Cargoe, Zuider Zee – caught varying degrees of reflected post-mortem Big Star spotlight on compilations and reissues, but Van Duren, who recorded one of the cityâ€™s best â€˜70s rock albums, remained obscure. This 1978 release, originally on the short-lived Big Sound label, garnered favorable reviews and FM radio play, but has been little known by even those whoâ€™ve collected the endless stream of Big Star reissues and vault material, and has been selling for big dollars in secondary markets.
Spurred by the documentary Waiting: The Van Duren Story and its accompanying soundtrack, Omnivoreâ€™s gone back to the vault and reissued Durenâ€™s debut, Are You Serious?, alongside this even rarer second album. Idiot Optimism was recorded shortly after the debut, but disagreements with the label led to it being shelved. The album appeared briefly on the Japanese Air Mail label in 1999, and again in 2003 on Terry Manningâ€™s Lucky Seven imprint, but this is the first issue in which Durenâ€™s been involved, and remastered from the original analog tapes, with liner notes by Duren and a previously unpublished cover photo, this is the albumâ€™s definitive rendering.
Unlike Durenâ€™s multi-instrumentalist performance on his debut, here he engages a band. Also unlike the debut, the well of material was mostly newer, many songs having been written during the time between the debut albumâ€™s recording and its release. Duren also included the only cover heâ€™d recorded to that point – Chris Bellâ€™s â€œMake a Sceneâ€ – as well as a song he co-wrote with Jody Stephens in 1975, â€œAndy, Please.â€ He also leaned more heaviy into mid- and up-tempo numbers, having found that ballads didnâ€™t work as well on stage, with the fetching â€œWhatâ€™s Keeping You?â€ being the only piano ballad included on the album.
Jon Tiven returned to co-produce, but after a falling out with the label, Duren was left to produce most of the album with help from engineer Richard Robinson. Oddly, the record label had forsaken vinyl LPs for cassette tapes, which allowed the album to stretch out to fifteen tracks. Musically, Durenâ€™s songs have many of the musical hallmarks of those on his debut, but the players rock a bit more freely than Duren had as a multi-instrumentalist. Tom MacGregor rips on lead guitar for â€œConvincing Convictions,â€ and Hilly Michaels opens â€œTorn in Halfâ€ with an inventive drum pattern alongside Jeff Batterâ€™s synthesizer.