Oddball Hendrix 45s Worldwide

Those familiar with Jimi Hendrix‘s song catalog might be amused by the quirky decisions made in various ‘foreign’ (i.e, non-US or -UK) markets around the globe — that’s right, it’s another romp through the 45Cat database not unlike the previous piece with The Beatles.

Let us begin our quest with “Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” Hendrix’s fourth UK single and an ‘important’ early composition — right away, we note that Germany produced a playfully expressive picture sleeve for this 1967 A-side release.

Norway, on the other hand, would take Hendrix’s ‘wild man’ stage persona and run with it.

Barclay of France (previously celebrated here), meanwhile, would present Hendrix in a slightly more regal fashion in this 1967 picture sleeve.

Tragically humorous to see “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” as a B-side in 1969, paired with “Fire” for the UK market, however with the A-side mistitled as “Let Me Light Your Fire”!

New Zealand, Yugoslavia, and Germany would also confuse “Fire” with The Doors’ big breakout hit also from 1967 – pop music’s peak year – along with Spain, whose picture sleeve release (below) wins an award for most imaginatively literal interpretation.

Spanish 45 – “Let Me Ligh Your Fire”:  Musical Misspellings!

“Light Your Fire” / “Midnight Lamp” Polydor 45 from unknown country – possibly Singapore.

“Burning of the Midnight Lamp” would also be used as a B-side on this 4-track EP from Portugal that was released in 1968.

“Burning of the Midnight Lamp” would receive somewhat of a promotion in Bolivia, where the song was sequenced as the second track (side A) of a four-cut EP from 1970 that features “Come On (Pt. 1)” in its first and only starring role as an “A-side” (EP also notable for “Love or Confusion” – a recording otherwise found only on Are You Experienced).

“Come On (Pt. 1)”:  first & only A-side appearance

4-song EP from Iran (with one Hendrix track) sold for $180

Some of Hendrix’s more adventurous songwriting efforts, such as “Are You Experienced”; “Third Stone from the Sun”; “Little Wing”; “Castles Made of Sand”; “House Burning Down”; “Rainy Day Dream Away” and “Still Raining Still Dreaming” (et al.) would not end up on a 45 release – or, at least, during his lifetime.

However, there are a couple unlikely Hendrix compositions that found themselves being issued in 7-inch format, such as side one’s ambitious (5 minutes and 29 seconds) closing track for Axis: Bold As Love – “If Six Was Nine” – chosen for the US & Australian markets in 1969 as the B-side to “Stone Free” (no doubt prompted by the song’s inclusion in the soundtrack to that same year’s classic counterculture film, Easy Rider).

“If Six Was Nine” — unlikely Australian B-side

Another unlikely Hendrix track found on a 45:  “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)” selected as the B-side for “Crosstown Traffic” in 1968 for the Australian market, while serving the same role in 1970 for the Yugoslavian market (although paired instead with “Voodoo Chile”) — the song’s only non-LP releases thus far known.

“Have You Ever Been” — unlikely Australian B-side

But without a doubt, the oddest Hendrix composition to end up on either side of a 45 is the epic underwater fantasy that fills an entire album side on Hendrix’s finest long-player — “1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)” — which Barclay saw fit to release in 1972, along with another Electric Ladyland cut — “Come On (Part 1)” — that, aside from Bolivia, could not be found on a disc measuring less than one foot in diameter (in fact, hilarious to discover that Iran beat everyone else to the punch when bootleggers issued “Come On” on this EP from 1968, the year of Electric Ladyland‘s release).

French 45 – 1972

This French 45 release from 1972 would be the sole non-LP release of beautiful ballad, “Drifting” (with nice vibraphone work from Buzzy Linhart), from the first posthumous LP, 1971’s The Cry of Love.

French 45 – 1972

Spanish Castle Magic” – otherwise confined to Axis: Bold As Love – would find itself loudly liberated in Japan, where it would be released on 7-inch (and nowhere else) in 1968.

Japanese 45 – 1968

This pair of 45s from 1967 – Italy (left) & Spain (right) – shares the same design template.

The cover design of this “Purple Haze” EP from Mexico (1968) also wins for ‘most literal’ — includes three tracks from the debut album, plus one (“Up From the Skies”) from the ‘new’ one, curiously enough.

“Freedom” b/w “Angel” 45 picture sleeve – Japan – 1971

1971 EP from Singapore — rare non-LP appearance of “My Friend” from The Cry of Love.

“Hej Joe” 45 picture sleeve – Yugoslavia – 1975

This Hendrix piece would not be complete without bootleg EP releases from Thailand, beginning with this 4-song Are You Experienced sampler (title track + 3 others).

Axis: Bold As Love would likewise get packaged as a 4-track EP sampler — includes rare instance of “Wait Until Tomorrow”; “You Got Me Floatin'” & “Little Miss Lover” on non-LP.

4-track EP (1969) includes 2 tracks each from Hendrix’s Experience & Clapton’s Cream.

Another noteworthy 4-track bootleg EP from Thailand with a familiar cover montage — includes Jimi’s “Freedom” plus three non-Hendrix tracks.

Jimi appears on the cover of another 4-track EP, albeit with only one Hendrix recording — a bootleg from Malaysia, however.

Iran would produce other bootleg Hendrix product, such as this 4-track Smash Hits EP.

Iran would also boldly pair two musical giants – James Brown and Jimi Hendrix – for the first and last time ever on this split EP that includes “Let Yourself Go” (a song previously celebrated in Zero to 180’s salute to Brown’s brave and patriotic Vietnam tour in 1968).

Distinctive green-vinyl EP from Iran includes “House Burning Down” — plus “Mr. Soul” from Buffalo Springfield (not to mention “Grits and Corn Bread” – a 1966 soul instrumental  previously celebrated here).

Hendrix releases on obsolete playback formats are available for purchase, go figure.

Zero to 180 is stunned to discover that all three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums received radically different covers and sleeve designs when released in France on Barclay imprint, Panache, as shown below.

1967 debut

1967’s Axis: Bold As Love

1968’s Electric Ladyland

Hendrix, incidentally, would only merit one picture sleeve in his lifetime for the US market — debut 45, “Hey Joe” b/w “51st Anniversary” (released April, 1967 on Reprise).

Oddball Beatles EPs Worldwide

Last month’s surprising (and under-reported) research results pertaining to The Beatles’ controversial association with K-Tel – I assumed – had tapped the well of Beatledom dry.  So imagine my surprise when Zero to 180 researchers poked at 45Cat’s database with a stick and stumbled upon a treasure trove of curious and, at times, downright baffling decisions regarding Beatles 45 and EP releases in “foreign” markets around the world.

Thailand takes the proverbial cake, in terms of audacity, style, and sense of the absurd — with not a single vinyl offering having enjoyed input from EMI or The Beatles whatsoever.  My favorite find among these brazen bootleg releases on Thailand’s Coliseum label is an EP that features four tracks from 1968’s ‘White Album (all of them unusual song choices), but it’s the picture sleeve that wins a prize for sheer daffiness:

Musical Misspellings!   “The Beatle” (singular) + “warm gum”

Beatles 45 Thailand-aa

As one of the 45Cat catalogers notes, this EP enjoys the distinction of being the only appearance of “Martha My Dear” on a non-LP Beatles release.  Only Finland would see fit to include “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” on a (legitimate) 45, while “Glass Onion” would remain an album track solely (if you exclude this unauthorized EP from Iran).  “Savoy Truffle” very nearly suffered the same fate — until Mexico’s outsized fondness for George Harrison manifested itself in this impressive assemblage of four (count ’em, four) George tracks released in 1971, one year after the band had called it quits.

Guinness record for number of George songs on Beatles non-LP release

Beatles EP - Mexico-aa

Actually, that same year Apple Mexico would issue four additional George-packed EPs, particularly notable for the Beatle whose first and only A-side — 1969’s “Something” — had come near the end of the Beatles’ recording career (where his output would be limited to one song per album side):

Beatles EP - Mexico-bbBeatles EP - Mexico-ddBeatles EP - Mexico-cc

Needless to say, this is the sole non-LP appearance ofPiggies” (above, endearingly misspelled), while the picture sleeve below is a rare use of the Sgt. Pepper image on an EP that includes but one track from pop music’s most revolutionary album.

Mexico Salutes George Harrison:  fifth & final EP

Beatles EP - Mexico-eeGeorge’s “I Me Mine” would forever be confined to the Let It Be album, except in Mexico, where the song would be included on a 1972 EP, (also noteworthy for including album-only track “One After 909“), while Venezuela would go one step further by being the only country to issue this waltz on a 45.  Also noteworthy is a planned-but-never-issued 5-song EP for the UK market of what would have been the only non-LP appearance of George track “It’s All Too Much.”

Nice to see that Mexico — who would take credit for the only authorized non-LP issue ofYer Blues” — also has a soft spot for Ringo, as this hand-picked set of tracks clearly indicates:

Beatles EP - Mexico-ffSpeaking of Ringo, this has got to be a first and only one of its kind:  A solitary Beatle (rendered as a cartoon, no less) as the cover image for a Beatles EP issued by Odeon Bolivia in 1965.

Beatles EP - Bolivia-aaaApple Mexico’s casual use of Sgt. Pepper tracks on other 1971 EPs (“Lucy in the Sky,” as well as “Help From My Friends,” and album showstopper, “A Day in the Life“) would seem to be unparalled among EMI affiliates while, at the same time, oddly sacrosanct.  And for some quirky reason, it is Italy – not the UK – who enjoys the distinction of having issued the world’s only Sgt. Pepper 45 the year of the album’s release.

Odeon Spain’s 4-track EP is remarkable for being, essentially, a Sgt. Pepper sampler that includes “Lovely Rita” – the only authorized such use of that track, as well as the magical “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”  Odeon Argentina would enjoy similar distinction for its own 1967 Sgt. Pepper EP that is notable for including “Fixing a Hole” and “Good Morning Good Morning.”

FLEXI-DISC!  Says 45cat:  “DESIGNED TO BE SOLD IN VENDING MACHINES

Beatles flexi-disc - US 1969

Must point out that the Sgt. Pepper EP released on Thailand’s TK label is almost certainly not the work of the band — the bizarro song selection [“All You Need Is Love”; “Lovely Rita”; “Baby You’re a Rich Man”; “Things We Said Today”] being a major tip-off.  As 45Cat contributor Tylerl notes with exasperation on the world’s behalf:

“Why ‘Things We Said Today’??  Weird.  Needed ‘For the Benefit of Mr Kite’ instead.  It’s not on any 45 or EP worldwide.  Sad.”

(Bam-Caruso also hits it on the head with his observation “another strange Thailand EP with an inspired sleeve.”)

Sgt. Pepper EP – but with only one track from the album!

Beatles EP - Thailand-ddBeatles EP - Thailand-ee

“Strawberry Fields Forever” is one of those monumental A-sides from AM radio’s golden age — and yet Odeon Japan would do the unthinkable, when the label made the tragic and misguided decision in 1967 to dilute the song’s seismic impact by leading off instead with a throwaway track from the previous year (“Bad Boy”) that sounds considerably out of its depth.

Beatles EP - Japan-aA recent documentary tribute toHey Bulldog,” the group’s last true collaborative effort, would note the song’s exclusion from single release during the band’s lifetime — a factual statement, if you ignore the track’s inclusion on a 1969 EP issued by Thailand renegade label, Coliseum.

the famous Yellow Submarine cover, and yet only one track from the album!

Beatles EP - Thailand-aa

Thailand’s labels would, indeed, take liberties with not only song selection but cover design, as well.  For instance, the band depicted on the 1968 EP below most definitely is not the same group that recorded “Sexy Sadie” (Lennon, by this point, wearing a beard and “granny” spectacles) and “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey.”

“Rock” Raccoon

Beatles EP - Thailand-bb

Note, too, this 1968 EP’s use of a still image from the iconic “I Am the Walrus” sequence in 1967’s Magical Mystery Tour film for a collection of ‘White Album‘ tracks!

Beatles EP - Thailand-cc

The only EMI-authorized issue of “I Dig a Pony” on a non-LP released during the band’s lifetime, meanwhile, is what secures Bolivia’s place in Beatles history (ditto for “Bungalow Bill,” “Julia” & “Me and My Monkey“).  But it’s Brazil (and no one else) who issued “Dear Prudence” on a 7-inch, while only Nicaragua would dare to include “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” on a 45 (ditto “Cry Baby Cry“).

sole authorized use of “Dig It” on non-LP release:  1972 MEXICAN EP

Beatles EP - Mexico-gg

Fascinatingly, Jamaica alone would enjoy authorized use of “Sexy Sadie” on a non-LP issue, while Venezuela would have bragging rights over its singular selection of “Wild Honey Pie” for 45 release.

“I’ve Got a Falling”:  1970 MALAYSIAN EP

Beatles EP - Malaysia-bbHowever, no one can top Portugal as the only country authorized to include the ultimate Beatles psychedelic track – “Tomorrow Never Knows” – on a vinyl platter whose diameter measures less than one foot (sorry, Iran – I don’t think you got permission).

Beatles EP - Portugal-aa Happy to see the distribution of Beatles recordings reach the African countries of Nigeria, Kenya, Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Angola, Rhodesia [Zimbabwe], and South Africa, as well as countries in the Middle East, including United Arab Republic, Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel, plus such Eastern Bloc nations as East Germany, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia.

Can’t tell if EMI had a hand in this 1965 EAST GERMAN 45 release

Beatles 45 - East Germany-aEncore bootleg EP
Thailand Loves The Beatles

Beatles EP - Thailand-fff

Jimi Hendrix on a K-Tel Album?

It still boggles my mind that Ronco somehow found a way to compile an album featuring tracks from top pop acts – Jimi Hendrix, Buffalo Springfield, The Beatles, and the Byrds – one would not normally associate with TV-advertised hits labels, such as Ronco.

Jimi Hendrix – third artist listed after The Beatles

Do It NowIn light of this knowledge I began to wonder:  Is it possible Jimi Hendrix has appeared on a K-Tel album?

Answer — Yes!  K-Tel Japan would include “Purple Haze” on 1971’s 20 Dynamic Hits – an album that would also feature a Beatles track (admittedly, 1961’s “My Bonnie” with singer, Tony Sheridan).

Jimi Hendrix on a K-Tel album cover!

K-Tel's 20 Dynamic Hits-a

“Purple Haze” would also turn up on 2-LP release, Superstars of the 70’s (K-Tel Japan), as well as 1983’s Heavy (K-Tel Australia).

Superstars of the 70s-JapanK-Tel's Heavy

K-Tel Netherlands would include “The Wind Cries Mary” on 1975 release K’Tel’s Gold Rock.

“Wind Cries Mary” = Side Two, Track Six

K-Tel's Gold Rock - Netherlands 75That same year, K-Tel UK & Ireland would include “Hey Joe” on British Gold.

K-Tel's British Gold“Hey Joe” would also be pressed into service for 1973’s Story of Pop Vol. 2 (K-Tel UK), as well as 1984’s Masters of Rock (K-Tel Germany).

(Left) Note the misspelling of Jimi               (right) 2nd Hendrix photo on K-Tel LP!

K-Tel's Story of Pop - Vol IIK-Tel's Masters of Rock-Germany

K-Tel UK & Ireland would also see fit to include “All Along the Watchtower” on 1986 release Rock Anthems II.

K-Tel:  “TV Advertised”

K-Tel's Rock Anthems 2

Perhaps the strangest release of all would be K-Tel Australia’s The Legend of Hendrix album (date unknown).

3rd known photo of Hendrix on a K-Tel album cover

K-Tel's Legend of Hendrix18 tracks in all – note the curious decision to include a Noel Redding composition, “She’s So Fine”:

1. Hey Joe
2. Purple Haze
3. The Wind Cries Mary
4. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
5. Stone Free Again
6. All Along The Watchtower
7. Foxy Lady
8. Voodoo Chile
9. Crosstown Traffic
10. Fire
11. Like A Rolling Stone
12. Ezy Rider
13. Freedom
14. Johnny B Goode
15. Blue Suede Shoes
16. Gypsy Eyes
17. Angel
18. She’s So Fine

“She’s So Fine”     Noel Redding’s Jimi Hendrix Experience     1967

Of course, all of this begs the question — why no Hendrix tracks on US K-Tel releases?  Was Warner Brothers afraid that the appearance of a Hendrix track on a K-Tel album might inflict damage on his viability in the marketplace, given the snobby rock press?

The Beatles on K-Tel:  A Neglected History

K-Tel, by the way, would pull another Beatles stunt, with the inclusion of (the Bert Kaempfert-produced) “Ain’t She Sweet” – recorded 1961 in Hamburg – on 1974’s K-Tel’s Pop Greats (K-Tel Germany), as well as 1975’s Flashback Fever (K-Tel Canada), and 1981’s 14 Grandes Exitos (K-Tel Argentina).

K-Tel album featuring “Los Beatles”!

K-Tel's 14 Grandes Exitos - Argentina LP

“My Bonnie,” likewise, would show up on 1973’s K-Tel’s Story of Pop (K-Tel UK), as well as 1975’s K-Tel’s British Greats (K-Tel Germany).  Also worth pointing out that 1978 album, Explosion 60 (K-Tel Spain), appears to be the only K-Tel collection to feature The Beatles’ version of “Twist and Shout.”

“My Bonnie” on this 1972 4-LP set = only US K-Tel LP Release to feature The Beatles!

K-Tel's 60s Flash-Back GreatsThe Stones on K-Tel:  The Truth Is Out There

1982 would prove to be the year the band made the momentous decision that permitted K-Tel UK/Ireland to sell a 2-LP (mostly monophonic) “greats”-only package, Story of the Stones, in Great Britain, as well as Spain, Portugal and (“unofficially”) Japan and Singapore.

K-Tel's Story of the Stones-front coverK-Tel's Story of the Stones-aK-Tel's Story of the Stones-bK-Tel's Story of the Stones-c

Track listing:  any quibbles, Stones fans?

K-Tel's Story of the Stones-rear cover

The following year, the Stones’ Organization then made the staggering decision to allow “Satisfaction” the honor of kicking off K-Tel’s Best Party Album in the World — a various artists release that would also include “Get Off My Cloud”!

K-Tel's Best Party Album-cover

Any Other Ronco LPs with Hendrix Tracks?

Q:  Besides Do It Now, are there any other Ronco LPs that feature Jimi Hendrix tracks?
A:  Yes!  “All Along the Watchtower” would join 43 of its closest friends for Ronco UK’s soundtrack to the film, Stardust, from 1974.

Ronco's Star Dust Soundtrack LPRonco's Sound Explosion - Hendrix

Additionally, in 1974 Ronco Netherlands would release 44 Golden Hits of the Sixties, a 2-LP set that included (you guessed it) “All Along the Watchtower.”

Ronco's 44 Golden Hits of the Sixties LPFinally, “Red House” would be included on two Ronco releases – 1977’s The Super Groups – 20 Explosive Hits! (Ronco UK) and 1979’s 20 Rock Legends (Ronco UK).

Ronco's The Super Groups LPRonco's 20 Rock Legends LP

By the Way…?

What is “All Along the Watchtower” doing on 1969 “CBS Special Products” Australia LP 20 Power Hits?  Wasn’t Polydor Hendrix’s label for Experience releases in Australia?

20 Power Hits

Columbia’s Great Gaffe:  Ladyland vs. Landlady:

In 2016, Heritage Auctions (“the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer”) sold two acetates of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland album — note that the Columbia label for the left image reads “Electric Landlady“(!)

double-Click on image for Super-maximum resolution

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Landlady acetates

“Electric Landlady”:  Inspiration for Kirsty MacColl’s 1991 album

Jimi Hendrix Electric LandladyNote the Billboard chart listing (“Electric Landlady“) for the week of October 19, 1968 + October 26, 1968 [Dave Michaels of ‘Progressive Rock’ WOXY in Oxford, Ohio] + November 2, 1968 [Barry Richards of ‘Progressive Rock’ WHMC, Gaithersburg, MD].

“Silver Springs” Maryland: Musically Unincorporated

I was recently reminded that Stevie Nicks wrote a song in 1976 that was intended for Fleetwood Mac‘s multi-platinum (i.e., 40+ million) Rumours album but, in the end, used only as a B-side.  This song, interestingly enough, is named for the place where my children were born and educated — Silver Spring, Maryland — a small “city” that, unfortunately, is unincorporated and thus impossible to define.

Silver Spring Maryland USA

It is unclear, for instance, whether Silver Spring includes the nearby communities of Lyttonsville, Forest Glen, Wheaton, Kemp Mill and White Oak — all unincorporated areas, like much of Montgomery County itself.

Silver Spring mapHilariously, Nicks misremembered the name in the plural – “Silver Springs” – not singular, a not uncommon occurrence and easy way to spot folks who are from “out of town.”

It’s not easy being Silver Spring:  EXHIBIT A

Silver Springs MDHowever, the decision to exclude “Silver Springs” from the album’s final running order was no laughing matter and would serve – I now know – as a source of tension that would help drive a wedge between Nicks and the rest of the band.  Ironically, notes Joe Benton in his “September 6th” Stevie Nicks interview, “Silver Springs” would be the comeback single twenty years later for Fleetwood Mac’s live reunion album, The Dance:

Besides ‘Sara,’ there’s another song that’s very special to Stevie Nicks.  It’s called ‘Silver Springs,’ and it was supposed to appear on the Rumours album, but without her knowledge, at the last minute it was pulled and relegated to a B-side, only to emerge twenty years later as the song that launched the band’s reunion.”

Silver Springs-aSilver Springs-bSilver Springs-cSilver Springs-e

As Nicks would explain “in her own words“:

“I wrote Silver Springs uh, about Lindsey [Buckingham].  And I ~ we were in Maryland somewhere driving under a freeway sign that said Silver Spring, Maryland.  And I loved the name. …Silver Springs sounded like a pretty fabulous place to me.  And uh, ‘You could be my silver springs…’ that’s just a whole symbolic thing of what you could have been to me.”
~Stevie Nicks, Classic Albums: Rumours, video 1998

Silver Spring-495 sign“I wrote it for Rumours, and fourteen years ago I walked into the studio and the record was basically done.  It was at the Record Plant, and Mick said, ‘Stevie, I need you to come outside to the parking lot cause I need to talk to you for a minute.’  And I knew it was really serious ’cause Mick never asks you to go out to the parking lot for anything.

So we walked to the huge Record Plant parking lot and he said, ‘I’m taking “Silver Springs” off the record.’  And, of course, my first reaction was, ‘Why?’  And he said, ‘There’s a lot of reasons, but because basically it’s just too long.  And we think that there’s another of your songs that’s better, so that’s what we want to do.’  Before I started to get upset about ‘Silver Springs,’ I said, ‘What other song?’  And he said, ‘A song called ‘I Don’t Want To Know.’  And I said, ‘But I don’t want that song on this record.’  And he said, ‘Well, then don’t sing it.’

And then I started to scream bloody murder and probably said every horribly mean thing that you could possibly say to another human being, and walked back in the studio completely flipped out.  I said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna sing ‘I Don’t Want To Know.’  I am one-fifth of this band.’  And they said. ‘Well, if you don’t like it, you can either (a) take a hike or (b) you better go out there and sing ‘I Don’t Want To Know’ or you’re only gonna have two songs on the record.’  And so, basically, with a gun to my head, I went out and sang ‘I Don’t Want To Know.’  And they put ‘Silver Springs’ on the back of ‘Go Your Own Way.'”
~Stevie Nicks, BBC radio interview, 1991

“Silver Springs” (MD)    Fleetwood Mac     1976

8th piece tagged as Musical Misspellings

Silver Springs-zz

Nashville Teens: 60s Internet Advocates

Yesterday’s piece about the Nashville All-Stars motivated me to take a closer look at a 1960s beat group that has generated positive buzz among the musical cognoscenti – The Nashville Teens.  Taking a peek at their 45 releases quickly revealed a startling discovery:  The Nashville Teens were musical clairvoyants who foresaw the digital age decades before the rest of us with their prescient piece of pop prognostication,  “Google Eye“:

The Nashville Teens     “Google Eye”     1964

The Teens were not actually from Nashville (and no relation to The Nashville All-Stars) but rather a bunch of blokes from Britain.  “Google Eye” would be their second 45 release in a string of singles spanning the 1960s that would include a mix of covers – “Tobacco Road”; “All Along the Watchtower”; “The Lament of the Cherokee Indian Reservation” – as well as originals.  How interesting to learn that “Google Eye” (1) was actually written by a Yank, John D. Loudermilk, and that (2) the song was so far ahead of its time that the record label would consequently misspell the title as “Goggle Eye” on a number of 45 releases:

Goggle Eye 45

 Italy                                          Germany                                    Somewhere

Nashville Teens 45-aaaNashville Teens 45-cccNashville Teens 45-bbb

The Nashville Teens would also release a musical roll call in tribute to the rock & roll pioneers who came before – “Revived 45 Time” – as well as a lament to the “Tennessee Woman” who would ultimately turn her back on them and break their collective heart.

“Kitten on the Keys”: Liberace Plays the Boogie

2013’s Steven Soderbergh-directed Liberace biopic was ineligible for Oscar nominations since, as Mother Jones points out, the film was released on cable television (HBO) instead of U.S. theaters due to its “conspicuous gayness.”  Along with Milton Berle, Liberace was one of TV’s earliest stars and, as pointed out in the film, the first to look right into the camera.  The Liberace Show, which went on the air in 1952, enjoys distinction as one of television’s earliest syndicated programs, if not the first.

How curious to browse his discography of 7-inch records in the 45Cat database and see – despite his legacy of million-selling albums and sold-out shows – a considerably vast drop-off of single releases beginning in the early 1960s.  I inherited a Liberace anthology upon the death of my grandmother and was amused to discover that the pioneering pianist threw a bone to the Woodstock generation with his cover of “Suite:  Judy Blue Eyes.”

1970’s ‘A Brand New Me’ – First LP with Warner Brothers

Liberace LPcheck out the amusing typo:  “Stephen Sills”

One of the primary musical motifs in the HBO film Behind the Candelabra that demonstrated Liberace’s dazzling virtuosity was a live set piece “Liberace Boogie” that only enjoyed release, surprisingly, on LP.  And even then, I can only find it on 1956’s Liberace Hollywood Bowl Encore Volume 1, as well as 2000 compilation 16 Biggest Hits.  Even more impressive than “Liberace Boogie” is this clip from Liberace’s 1950s television show – “Bumble Boogie” – that shows his unique take on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumble Bee.”

In 1956 almighty Columbia would issue a 10-inch release, Kitten on the Keys, that would include a couple prominent boogie numbers, “Yankee Doodle Boogie” and the title track:

Luther Perkins and Liberace, as it turns out, both played the boogie

British Sea Power would later pay homage to the great ivory tickler in a standout B-side from 2002, “The Lonely,” with their deadpan delivery of this delightfully oddball lyric:      “Just like Liberace, I will return to haunt you with peculiar piano riffs.”

“Rise”: The Spirit of Sahm

It was hard not to get swept up in Ed Ward‘s enthusiasm in his October 1, 1970 Rolling Stone review of an up-and-coming Texan band (by way of Prunedale, California) that had been “discovered” and mentored by Doug Sahm.  The band’s debut, a masterpiece in Ward’s estimation, had been released on almighty Columbia imprint, Epic, and described as a curious collision of sounds — “Creedence meets The Byrds” (as others have since quipped), with horns, steel guitar, fiddles and a healthy amount of Tex-Mex thrown in — but in a unified and cohesive way, Ward assures us.

I was reminded of Ward’s original review when I read James ‘Bigboy’ Medlin’s tribute to the Texas Tornado himself – Doug Sahm – in this year’s ‘Southern Music Issue’ of the Oxford American, so imagine my complete disbelief when I switched on the Internet to learn more these renegade rockers … only to discover not a single trace of their existence!  Unfathomable.  How could this be?  Even trusty ol’ Discogs.com was bereft of any info about the one and only long-playing release by “Love and the Lovers,” as they are clearly named in the review (as well as the index of The Rolling Stone Record Review, where Ward’s piece had been reprinted).

As it turns out, heh heh, it was just a typo.  If you type the phrase “Louie and the Lovers,” a veritable floodgate of information spews forth.  At the top of the list, interestingly enough, is Ed Ward’s piece for National Public Radio about the 2009 release of the band’s complete recordings by pioneering reissue label, Bear Family, of Germany.  How fascinating to learn from Ward’s NPR piece that, after the band’s experience with Epic, Atlantic’s Jerry Wexler (at Doug Sahm’s urging) would pick up the baton.  At great expense, Wexler would fly Louie and the Lovers in his private jet – their first ever plane trip – for recording sessions in Miami, as well as Hollywood, only to release one single and then shelve a (“long-rumored”) second album that had been planned for release.

Title track “Rise” would lead off their debut Epic album on which the band would be backed by Doug Sahm’s band, The Honky Blues Band:

“Rise”     Louie and the Lovers     1970

Not to be confused with Little Louie and the Lovers, who would release one single in 1962 before vanishing.

Even with major label backing and support from A-level musicians during the Miami recordings sessions – Dr. John, Joe Lala, David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Flaco Jimenez – as Ward notes in “The Slow ‘Rise’ of a Lost Treasure,” the band’s recordings would fail to make a dent in the marketplace, a situation undoubtedly exacerbated by their decision not to tour.  Over time, however, the music’s reputation would grow — to the point that Sony UK, in 2003, would reissue the band’s debut on compact disc, followed by Bear Family’s decision six years later to release the band’s entire 27-song output.

Louie & Lovers 45

“When I Was a Boy”: Adulthood Stinks

Music fans who only know The Who through their album releases are sadly depriving themselves of a whole other world of Who music:  their non-LP tracks.  And not just singles and EP tracks but also bootlegged/pirated versions of great recordings that, for whatever reason, were officially kept in the can.  What a revelation, for instance, to discover the existence of an alternative version of beloved album — The Who Sell Out, a pastiche of AM radio complete with phony ads & station IDs — that includes two great obscure originals (“Early Morning Cold Taxi” and “Jaguar”), as well as studio versions of two cover songs made famous on their Live at Leeds album (“Young Man Blues” & “Summertime Blues”), plus one that wasn’t (Eddie Cochran’s lesser-known, “My Way”).  How interesting to learn, as I did just now, that Keith Moon did the lead vocal on “Jaguar”!

Al Kooper plays organ on this 45-only version of ‘Who Sell Out’ album track

In recent years, many of these non-LP recordings have been used by MCA as bait to get fans to buy yet another CD reissue of The Who’s back catalog, but you know what?  The remixed and remastered versions of these “bonus tracks” sound dreadful and overly fiddled with.  Thank goodness I didn’t do anything hasty to my bootleg & pirate recordings — where they got the mix right the first time.  Can you tell how annoyed I am when record companies remix musical recordings, not because they should but because they can?

John Entwistle would later gather 11 of these wayward, album-less recordings, such as “Little Billy” (written for the American Cancer Society, who ultimately passed on it), “Glow Girl” and “Faith in Something Bigger,” et al. – and issue these orphans as Odds and Sods.  However, many more interesting songs are out there waiting to be rediscovered, and the better bootleg albums, such as Who’s Zoo and From Lifehouse to Leeds, are worth seeking out.  Who’s Zoo, for instance, performed a great (pre-Internet) public service by putting “Dogs” and “Dogs Part Two” back-to-back to maximize the humor – the kind of thing that their record company would never deign to do.

Master tapes for ‘Lifehouse’ (i.e., ‘Who’s Next’) were once found in a dumpster

Who's Zoo LPWho - Lifehouse to Leeds

Who’s Zoo was also my first exposure to long-lost B-side, “When I Was a Boy,” originally released October, 1971 as the flip side to non-LP single, “Let’s See Action”:

‘Entwistle’ misspelled yet again – hence the joke behind album title ‘Whistle Rymes’

John Entwistle, whose distinctive songwriting had always been deeply infused with dark humor, is simply and utterly dark on this despairing take on mortality.  “When I Was a Boy” would appear to be one of the very few (perhaps only) autobiographical songs released as a member of The Who.  It is hard for me to assume, especially in light of how Entwistle’s life tragically ended, that rock’s finest bassist was writing in character when he penned these tortured lyrics:

When I was a baby, I hadn’t a care in the world.
But now I’m a man the troubles all fill my head.
When I was five, it was good to be alive.
But now I’m a man I wish that I were dead.
My how time rushes by,
The moment you’re born you start to die.
Time waits for no man,
And your lifespan is over before it begins.

Entwistle’s lyric would seem to anticipate rock’s other great meditation on life’s fleetingness, “Time” from 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.

Those eager to explore the parallel universe of bootleg and pirated recordings should most definitely pick up Clinton Heylin’s excellent history of illegal vinyl, Bootleg:  The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry.

“Big Honky Baby”: Ellie Greenwich – We Know It’s You

They sure don’t make song titles like “Big Honky Baby” anymore — this 1962 release by “Kellie Douglas” was, in actuality, famed Brill Building-era songwriter, Ellie Greenwich, stepping out in front of the microphone with a song penned by long-time partner, Jeff Barry:

“Big Honky Baby”     Ellie Greenwich     1962

“Big Honky Baby” was the B-side to “My Mama Didn’t Like Him,” a single that appears not to have charted very high, if at all.  Amusingly, a couple websites list the title as “Big Hunky Baby,” which actually makes a lot more sense – had RCA mistranscribed the title in much the same way Atlantic came up with “Goin’ Up To Country“?.

Big Honky Baby 45

“Uncle Booger Red & Byrdie Nelle”: Does Don Kirshner Know About This?

There is fascinatingly little to be found on the web about a song called “Uncle Booger Red & Byrdie Nelle.”  I discovered this tune on an oddball compilation album of country music obscurities and social commentary songs entitled, Country Comment, on the Charly label, a European import.  The song is sung by Rex Allen, Jr., and written by two people – someone named Davis and the other one Collins.  Most intriguingly, the song is published by Screen Gems/Columbia, the publishing company of Don Kirshner.  About this track, the liner notes simply say, “The laid-back country-soul approach is demonstrated by Rex Allen, showing a trace of Tony Joe White in his voice but little of his father’s Walt Disney narrator’s style”:

Uncle Booger Red & Byrdie Nelle – Rex Allen Jr

[Pssst:  Click on the triangle to play “Uncle Booger Red & Byrdie Nelle” by Rex Allen Jr.]

I almost gave up searching for information until I stumbled upon the fact that, of all people, Mac Davis is the one who not only sang the song originally but wrote it.  At one time in the 1970s, Mac Davis was pretty hot and even had his own TV show.  Plus, Mac was signed to Columbia Records – which is why I’m stunned to find hardly any history on this song.

Wait a minute – I just discovered the problem:  orthography.  Perhaps it’s a Texas thing, but Mac Davis included this song on his 1970 debut album, Song Painter, and spelled “booger” with an A, not an E.  Apparently, no one had the courage at the time to tell Mac Davis that’s no way to spell the word, “booger.”

Thanks to LP Discography, I just learned who co-wrote the song:  Larry Collins, the gifted guitarist who was a regular performer on the Town Hall Party TV show at the tender age of 10 as half of The Collins Kids.

Rabbit Looping with Uncle Booger Red & Byrdie Nelle

William Kerns of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper, in his 2008 piece extolling the great Independence Day traditions that Lubbock, Texas has to offer, described one particularly colorful activity – “rabbit looping” – enjoyed by Mac Davis and his (now famous) aunt and uncle:

Davis and his family would spend each Independence Day at the ranch near Post owned by his Uncle Booger Red and Aunt Byrdie Nell.   They hunted by day and, when the sun set it was time for rabbit-looping.

“We’d take an old tractor tire and cut the rim out of the middle,” said Davis. “Then we’d replace the rim with basketball netting.  One of us would stand in the back of a pickup driven across a field.  We’d spotlight a jackrabbit, try to catch up to it, then toss the tire so you had this jackrabbit standing up in the netting.

“That was big fun, and I’m not just talking about me and my teenage buddies. My full-grown uncles and cousins were with us every year, too.”

There was one negative.

Davis explained, “Lots of times the pickup driver had to turn suddenly to avoid a big mesquite bush. If I wasn’t careful, I’d wind up flying out of the pickup and into the mesquite.”

Davis said, “But I got to be pretty good at rabbit-looping.”