“Louie Louie”: Languid, Listless

One year after Stu Phillips recorded a spectacularly soporific reading of “Tired of Waiting for You,” The Sandpipers released a similarly sluggish take on the garage rock classic, “Louie Louie” — it, too, makes me laugh:

“Louie Louie”     The Sandpipers     1966

Released as a 45 and sequenced as the opening track on side two of their debut LP.

Louie Louie EP

Were Stu Phillips and The Sandpipers part of a mid-60s “torp pop” trend?

What’s in a Name?

The Sandpipers, whose 1966 debut A&M 45, “Guantanamera” was a Top 10 smash, had unknowingly appropriated the same name as a trio of Pensacola, Florida girls who enjoyed musical backing from a young Duane & Gregg Allman (as The Allman Joys) when they auditioned for Columbia in 1965 with Bob Dylan’s producer, Bob Johnston.  Spectropop has the back story – with photos.

The Most Literal Cover Version Ever

I remember having a good laugh the first time I listened to Stu Phillips‘ ever-so-sleepy arrangement of the Kinks’ classic, “Tired of Waiting for You“:

The original Kinks hit was recorded in late 1964 and released January 1965 in the UK (one month later in the US).  Stu Phillips, interestingly, arranged and recorded his version just three months later on May 21st.  I am struck by the dichotomy between the swiftness of his response and the torpor of his results:

“Tired of Waiting for You”     Stu Phillips & the Hollyridge Strings     1965

“Tired of Waiting for You” — an LP-only track from 1965 album Feels Like Lovin’ — would enjoy a new audience of “space-age bachelor pad” enthusiasts when included on 1997 compilation, On The Rocks – Part One, part of Capitol’s “Ultra Lounge” CD series.

This “torp pop” approach will be re-examined in Zero to 180’s next piece on The Sandpipers.

Stu Phillips

Could this sort of “languid pop” have set the stage for future indie subgenre, “slowcore“?

Battle of the “Spaceship Races”

How interesting that Carole King – the musical part of the Goffin-King songwriting partnership – had been writing hits since the very beginning of the 1960s and yet had not released her first solo album until 1970 – an album somewhat pointedly entitled, Writer.

Carole King

The album’s kick-off track is, for Carole, a bit of a rocker – “Spaceship Races” – and a determined one at that.  Who knew from Carole’s fairly straight-ahead reading that a joyous power pop of a colt could come thundering out of the same gates albeit when jockeyed by Tom Northcott?

“Spaceship Races”     Carole King     1971

Spaceship Races – Tom Northcott

[Pssst:  Click on the triangle to play “Spaceship Races” as arranged by Tom Northcott]

Tom Northcott’s more elaborate pop production was likewise the album-opening track on his 1971 album, Upside Downside, on Uni (imprint of MCA) – although a B-side of the single, “Suzanne” (the oft-covered Leonard Cohen classic).  What gives?

Tom Northcott

Northcott (popular in his native Vancouver) recorded 20 sides for Warner Brothers in the mid-to-late 60s and then jumped to MCA’s Uni label for exactly one album – and then nothing more for a long time.