Quirky 45s That “Bubbled Under” 1959-1976 (pt. 1)

It’s almost impossible to fathom now, but at one time in the United States, tiny “indie” labels could actually get their records played on the radio.  This period was a narrow window of time, as predictably (and inevitably), the major labels would consolidate their hold on the marketplace by effectively shutting out indies from commercial radio playlists by the early-to-mid 1970s (and sometimes, as shown below, by purchasing the masters of songs that were proving “hot”).

Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” chart, which began in 1959 during rock ‘n’ roll’s initial wave, I have discovered to be a fairly fertile vein of offbeat and undersung recordings that once tickled the ears of a relative few for but a brief period of time.  A huge tip of the hat to Top40Weekly.com, who labored mightily to make this information readily available.

Zero to 180, as a public service, has scrutinized these less-remembered tracks to identify some of the more curious 45s worthy of rediscovery.   This extended playlist includes a few major labels, as well as a handful of “name” artists, but otherwise is a “pop underground” of 45 tracks for whom classic oldies radio, alas, has no use.  These specially-selected tracks from 1959-1976 serve as a tribute to the scrappy independent labels who had hoped to hit it big during a time in the early rock ‘n’ roll era when the radio airwaves were more of a meritocracy.  This piece is also a(n) historical reminder of how regional radio once was before programming decisions essentially became the province of some guy in the “central office.”

“Bubbling Under” — sounds like a fun concept for a radio program(me), right?

Patience:  Allow several minutes of loading time for these 100+ audio clips.

Little Bitty Johnny” by Travis & Bob 

peaked at #114 on July 13, 1959 [Sandy]

  • Follow-up to the duo’s ace debut 45 “Tell Her No” on Mobile-based label, Sandy.

 

Roulette” by Russ Conway

peaked at #106 on August 3, 1959 [Cub]

  • The person who uploaded this audio clip on YouTube has this to say — “Composed by Russ, the single has more POKE than the album version.  For my money, it’s Russ’ BEST up-tempo piece.  But how DID he get a piano to SOUND like this?  Many others tried, but none succeeded.”

 

Baghdad Rock” by The Sheiks

peaked at #111 on December 14, 1959 [MGM/Trine]

 

Clap Your Hands (Pt. 1)” by The Wheels with The Teddy Vann Chorus & Orchestra

peaked at #102 on January 4, 1960 [Folly]

  • “Clap Your Hands” also peaked at #79 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles the week ending February 20, 1960.
  • This 45 appears to be the entire catalog of Folly Records — ironic?

 

The Scandanavian Shuffle” by The Swe-Danes

peaked at #101 on February 22, 1960 [Warner Bros.]

  • According to Discogs — “The Swe-Danes were a vocalese trio that were active from 1958 until 1961, consisting of Swedish singer Alice Babs and two Danes, violinist Svend Asmussen and guitarist Ulrik Neumann.”

Denmark 45                                               Germany 45

 

The Wind” by The Diablos Featuring Norman Strong

peaked at #114 on June 27, 1960 [Fortune]

  • This 1954 recording (almost) back on the charts, no doubt, as a result of a cover version by The Jesters released that same year.
  • According to Discogs, most recordings for the Detroit-based Fortune label were recorded at the in-house Fortune Recording Studio.

 

If The World Don’t End Tomorrow (I’m Comin’ After You)” by Doug Warren and the Rays

peaked at #107 on July 11, 1960 [Image]

 

Itchin’” [B-side] by Jimmy Jones

peaked at #106 on October 3, 1960 [Cub]

 

The Jazz in You” by Gloria Lynne

peaked at #109 on January 30, 1961 [Everest]

  • “The Jazz in You” was a “Top Market Breakout” hit in the Los Angeles market, according to Billboard‘s February 6, 1961 edition.

 

Banned in Boston” by Merv Griffin

peaked at #101 on February 27, 1961 [Carlton]

 

Bounty Hunter” by The Nomads

peaked at #116 on March 23, 1961 [Rust]

 

Sucu Sucu” by Ping Ping with Al Verlane’s Orchestra

peaked at #103 on May 1, 1961 [Kapp]

 

Hey You, What Are You, Some Kind of Nut?” by Andy Cory

peaked at #121 on May 1, 1961 [Silver Bid]

  • Andy Cory’s recorded output — two singles — would include a 45 for King Records the following year, about which Discogs provides this bit of background info:  “Oddball hootenanny-style telling of historical vignettes, not in a comic vein.  Andy Cory is best known for his earlier novelty, ‘Hey, What Are You, Some Kind Of Nut?’  Totally left-field release for King.”

 

Abdul’s Party” by Larry Verne

peaked at #113 on May 8, 1961 [Era]

  • A “Spotlight Winner of the Week” in the March 27, 1961 edition of Billboard who described the track as “an amusing novelty number with musical background by the lad who had a hit with ‘Mister Custer‘ a while back.”

 

Bacardi” by Ralph Marterie

peaked at #115 on May 22, 1961 [United Artists]

  • The fluke hit of “Tequila” inspired a host of alcohol-themed instrumentals in its wake, including the more generic “Cerveza” (‘Boots Brown’ a.k.a., Shorty Rogers) as well as the brand-specific “Bacardi” and “Seagrams” (from the previous year).
  • As previously noted, 1960’s “Seagrams” by The Viceroys was issued on Bethlehem, a subsidiary label of King.  Unfortunately, the Seagrams Corporation didn’t take kindly to the appropriation of its name and threatened to sue for trademark infringement, with some stations refusing to play a song named for a commercial product without being paid for advertising time.  A sheepish notice in Billboard on March 23, 1960, said, “We Goofed!” and explained that “Seagrams” was now changed to “Seagreen.”
  • Oddly, not only did Ralph Marterie experience no blowback for trademark infringement, Billboard‘s May 8, 1961 edition awarded “Bacardi” three stars (i.e., moderate sales potential) and had only good things to say [“Latin-style instrumental, blues-derived.  Very danceable and good listening, too.  Worth strong exposure.”] in its review.

 

The Presidential Peace Conference (Pts. 1&2)” by The Sickniks

peaked at #105 on June 26, 1961 [Amy]

 

Song of the Nairobi Trio” by The Fortune Tellers

peaked at #114 on September 25, 1961 [Music Makers]

 

Berlin Top Ten” by Dickie Goodman

peaked at #116 on October 23, 1961 [Rori]

 

The Roach” by Gene and Wendell with The Sweethearts

peaked at #117 on October 30, 1961 [Ray Star]

  • “The Roach” also hit the #14 spot on Billboard‘s R&B chart on January 6, 1962.

Dance steps below — be sure to “kill that roach”

 

She Put the Hurt on Me” by Prince La La

peaked at #119 on October 20, 1961 [AFO]

  • Prince La La backed by the A.F.O. Studio Combo, as noted on the label.
  • Song also reached the #28 spot on Billboard‘s R&B chart on Oct. 16, 1961.
  • In the mid 1960s, Foster MacKenzie III (a.k.a. Root Boy Slim) formed a band while attending Yale University that went by the name Prince La La, Percy Uptight and the Midnight Creepers.

 

Colinda” by Rod Bernard

peaked at #102 on March 24, 1962 [Hallway]

  • Rod Bernard of Opelousas, Louisiana — subject of an early Zero to 180 piece about the “Cajun Interstate” (i.e., the Atchafalaya Expressway) on Interstate 10.

 

Na Ne No” by Troy Shondell

peaked at #107 on June 2, 1962 [LIberty]

  • Produced, arranged, and conducted by Phil Spector — one 45Cat contributor asks, “Do we know officially who the background girl singers are?  Darlene Love has to be in there somewhere.”
  • Billboard‘s June 9, 1962 edition reports “Na Ne No” as a regional breakout hit in Chicago and Detroit.
  • Billboard‘s review from the April 21, 1962 edition — “Catchy nonsense-type novelty-rocker is sung with good humor and infectious tempo by Shondell and fem chorus.  Teen appeal side.”

 

How’s My Ex Treating You” by Jerry Lee Lewis

peaked at #114 on September 22, 1962 [Sun]

  • Recording is notable for the baritone “fuzz” guitar intro.
  • Billboard‘s review from the July 21, 1962 edition — “This moving treatment by Jerry Lee Lewis of a country weeper, which features his exciting piano work, could turn into his best record in over a year.  It spots a mighty good vocal performance by the singer on a strong lyric and the wild pianoing is there too.”

 

Big Noise From Winnetka (Pt. 1)” by Cozy Cole

peaked at #121 on January 26, 1963 [Coral]

  • Billboard‘s review from the November 10, 1962 edition — “The first side here is a great reading of the oldie in up-to-date terms.  The side is reminiscent of a big one for Cole some time back, ‘Topsy [Pt. 2].’  There’s much drum beating and torrid whistling.”

1963 EP — France

 

Half Time” by The Routers

peaked at #115 on February 16, 1963

  • Arranged by Rene Hall — issued as B-side of “Sting Ray.”
  • One 45Cat contributor remembers, “I thought that “Half Time” was the A side of this record.  That is the side that I remember was plugged on Radio Luxembourg in 1963.”

1963 EP – France

 

Tore Up (Over You)” by Harmonica Fats

peaked at #103 on March 23, 1963 [Skylar]

 

From Me to You” by The Beatles

peaked at #116 on August 3, 1963 [Vee Jay]

  • Vee Jay, prior to Motown, was the most successful black-owned record company – and the first American company to sign The Beatles.
  • According to this NRP profile of Vee Jay Records, in one month alone in early 1964, the label sold 2.6 million Beatles singles.
  • Link to Seymour Stein King Records history piece that contains (1) bonus Beatles trivia about earliest US 45s being issued on indie labels when Capitol (EMI’s American subsidiary label) passed on The Beatles’ first four singles, and (2) the strange-but-true story behind Stein’s seed money for launching Sire Records (pssst, it has something to do with The Beatles).

 

The Sound of Surf” by Percy Faith Orchestra

peaked at #111 on September 21, 1963  [Columbia]

  • “The Sound of Surf” is a 45-only non-LP track that eventually appeared on CD.
  • Song picked by Billboard as a “Pop Spotlight” winner in the August 17, 1963 edition accompanied by these words of praise:  “Here’s a mighty catchy Percy Faith instrumental, with surf and wind-swept chorus, big fiddle effects and insistent surf beat.  Melodic side could catch much across-the-board play and sale.”

 

Hootenanny Granny” by Jim Lowe

peaked at #103 on September 21, 1963 [20th Century Fox]

  • Link to full-page promotional ad in the September 7, 1963 edition of Billboard in which Jim Lowe gives a shout out to “Music Operators:  My mother thanks you … My father thanks you … And Granny thanks you.”

 

Eefananny” by The Ardells

peaked at #109 on September 28, 1963 [Epic]

  • A “Pick of the Week” by Cash Box in its September 7, 1963 edition — “The eefin sound – a wacky vocal rhythm accompaniment style, some 100 years old – has entered the teen-market.  It’s a natural for novelty dates, as “Eefananny,” a joyful folkish cut, so engagingly demonstrates.  If the merry sound catches on,  and from where we sit it should, figure The Ardells to make the chart rounds with their version.”
  • Likewise a Billboard “Pop Spotlight” winner in the September 7, 1963 edition — “Here’s a novelty item that might go with the kiddies.  It’s a nutty side that might go with air play.  There’s another version of the side, but this one, at a bit slower tempo, can get play.”

eefin’ = a tutorial

 

Guitars, Guitars, Guitars” by Al Casey with the K-C-Ettes

peaked at #116 on October 12, 1963 [Stacy]

  • A “Pop Spotlight” pick in Billboard‘s September 21, 1963 edition — “Strong blues with the surf sound from the Chicago guitarist.  It has a solid chance with gal chorus and strong gut work.”

 

Gorilla” [B-side] by The Ideals

peaked at #127 on October 12, 1963 [Cortland]

  • Billboard‘s September 28, 1963 edition shows a guy in a gorilla suit cradling Chicago disk jockey Dick Kemp — 45 alleged to have “hot sales reaction” in the Midwestern markets of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago.
  • As noted on 45Cat, this B-side ended up being the (near) hit.

 

The Monkey Walk” by The Flares

peaked at #133 on November 9, 1963 [Press]

 

Sneaky Sue” by Patty Lace and the Pettycoats

peaked at #104 on December 28, 1963 [Kapp]

  • Listed at the #11 spot on Cash Box Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending January 18, 1964.
  • Awarded four stars in the November 23, 1963 edition of Billboard, designating “new single with sufficient commercial potential in [its] respective category to merit being stocked by dealers, one-stops and rack jobbers handling that category.”

 

The Cow” by Bill Robinson and the Quails

peaked at #103 on January 18, 1964 [American]

  • Reached the #38 position on Cash Box Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending February 8, 1964.
  • Not everyone is a fan of this 45 — as one 45Cat contributor punned, “Can’t take this seriously.  The udder side is not a lot better.”

 

The La-Dee-Da Song” by The Village Stompers

peaked at #104 on February 1, 1964 [Epic]

  • A “Pop Spotlight” winner in Billboard‘s January 25, 1964 edition — “The Stompers have everything going but the kitchen sink on this hit follow-up.  There are bossa touches, banjos, plinkin’, Dixie brass and the listener can practically hear the ole Riverboat’s paddle and hoot.”
  • B-side of “Blue Grass” — except when released in Japan.

 

Competition Coupe” by The Astronauts

peaked at #124 on February 15, 1964 [RCA]

  • A “Pop Spotlight” pick in Billboard‘s February 8, 1964 edition — “The group here has been very successful with an album, and this single is already getting some strong play.  Watch it.”

  45 — Japan                                                    45 — Germany

 

I Am the Greatest” by Cassius Clay

peaked at #113 on March 21, 1964 [Columbia]

 

Beatle Mania Blues” by The Roaches

peaked at #117 on April 11, 1964 [Crossway]

  • Cash Box, which assigns letter grades in their 45s reviews (though no lower than a C), awarded “Beatle Mania Blues” a B (“good”) in their April 24, 1964 edition.  Notes the trade journal at the top of its reviews section — “Only those records best suited for commercial use are reviewed by Cash Box.”
  • Link to other Zero to 180 stories related to Beatles Novelty Songs.

 

Yo Me Pregunto (I Ask Myself)” by The Valrays

peaked at #121 on May 9, 1964 [Parkway]

  • “Latin doo wop” is how some might describe this tuneful “throw back” 45 — the second and final recording for The Valrays.
  • Despite the Spanish language lyrics, The Valrays were actually a “white” group from New York City, as noted in the White Doo-Wop Collector music blog —  WMCA’s Top Twenty-Five for the week of April 15, 1964 (NYC metro area) shows “Yo Me Pregunto” holding down the #25 spot.

 

New York Town” by The Dixiebelles

peaked at #119 on May 16, 1964 [Sound Stage 7]

  • A “female soul group” from Memphis, Tennessee, according to Discogs, “who changed their name [from The Tonettes] when Nashville’s Sound Stage 7 wanted a black female group to record and go out for live performances to promote a studio masterminded hit ‘(Down At) Papa Joe’s‘ that had been originally released by the white vocal group Anita Kerr Singers.”
  • A “Smith-Justis Production” — i.e., produced by “Cornbread” (Bill Justis) and “Jerry” (Jerry Smith).

 

Bad News” by The Trashmen

peaked at #124 on May 16, 1964 [Garrett]

45 label — note the small print

  • 45Cat contributorNaturalE” suspects something is not quite on the up and up:  “Anyone know why this song was co-identified as ‘Church Key‘ (by The Revels) when it actually sounds closer to a version of Eddie Bertrand’s “Volcanic Action” (by The Belairs), a tune which was also covered as “Tidal Wave” (by The Challengers)?”
  • Although “Bad News” was not included on The Trashmen’s 1964 debut album, 45Cat contributorporcupine” points out that the group “did a song on their Surfin’ Bird LP called ‘Bird Bath‘ that is essentially ‘Church Key/Bad News.'”

“Arty” 45 picture sleeve — Sweden

 

Beachcomber” by The Johnny Gibson Trio

peaked at #116 on June 13, 1964 [Laurie/Twirl]

  • 45 originally issued on Detroit label, Twirl, then released on Laurie for broader reach and distribution.
  • “Beachcomber” made CKLW‘s Top 30 for two consecutive weeks in May 1964.
  • For the week ending June 13, 1964, Cash Box listed “Beachcomber” as #36 on its “Cash Box Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (seven slots behind “Jamaica Ska” by The Ska Kings).
  • Funky 16 Corners music blog – who once had an amusing “run in” with this 45 – informs us that this 45 was a Top 20 hit in Ohio and Detroit.

 

Love Me Do” by The Hollyridge Strings

peaked at #134 on July 18, 1964 [Capitol]

 

Shrimp Boats (Jamaican Ska)” by Jerry Jackson

peaked at #134 on July 25, 1964 [Columbia]

  • Newest addition to 2014 Zero to 180’s piece — “Ska in the 1960s US Market
  • 45Cat contributor “teabiscuit” observes, “this one used to be wanted on the Popcorn scene, as it shows Ska influenced tracks of old Pop standards!”

Columbia — leading up the ska charge

 

New Girl” by Accents

peaked at #128 on August 15, 1964 [m-pac!]

  • Identified by Billboard as a “Breakout Single” in AtlantaChicago,and Detroit.
  • “New Girl” was pegged by Cash Box as a “best bet” (i.e., “A”) in their record reviews from the June 20, 1964 edition — “The Accents could well jump into the national spotlight with this top-notch rhythmic multi-dance teen-angled bluesy affair about a new gal in town.  Eye it closely.”

 

Ringo for President” by The Young World Singers

peaked at #132 on August 22, 1964  [Decca]

  • Co-written by noted synthesist, Mort Garson, who was celebrated by Zero to 180 in 2018 for his mesmerizing opening/closing themes for TV’s “Untamed World.”
  • Cash Box‘ informs us in their August 8, 1964 review of this “Newcomer Pick” — “‘Ringo for President,’ which started as a promo gimmick in Cleveland by a gang of Beatles fans, could stir up a national interest with exuberant and live-wire reading by The Young World Singers.  A choice programming item for the coming campaign period.”
  • Billboard pegged this 45 as a “Hot Pop Spotlight” in its August 8, 1964 edition with a dash of humor — “Said non-citizen Starr in reply to [the military] draft, ‘I don’t believe I will have the time.’ (And it doesn’t pay enough).  Teenage version of ‘Wintergreen For President.'”

 

I Could Conquer the World” by The Shevelles

peaked at #104 on September 5, 1964 [World Artists]

  • As Billboard enthused in its review of July 25, 1964 — “Conquering sound from this British group.  Great beat coupled with groovy lyrics.”
  • “If I Were to Conquer the World” was a “Breakout Hit” in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
  • Reached the #6 spot on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending October 10, 1964.

 

I’m Too Poor to Die” by Louisiana Red

peaked at #117 on September 12, 1964 [Glover]

  • 45 produced by Henry Glover on a label named for same — song co-written by Charles Singleton, Sid Wyche, and Henry Glover.
  • Kal Rudman, in his ‘Rhythm & Blues’ column for Billboard, identified “Too Poor to Die” approvingly as a “live down-home blues record” in the August 1, 1964 edition.
  • “Too Poor to Die” reached the #15 position on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending August 22, 1964.

 

(Say I Love You) Doo Bee Dum by The Four-Evers

peaked at #119 on September 12, 1964 [Smash]

  • The Four-Evers’ best-known hit, according to Discogs, 1964’s “Be My Girl,” fooled some into believing the group was actually The Four Seasons recording under an alias.

 

The Dog” by Junior and the Classics

peaked at #134 on September 26, 1964 [Groove]

  • This faithful cover of the Rufus Thomas hit found its way – thanks to RCA’s distribution heft – into Germany and Greece.
  • “The Dog” was tagged by Billboard on October 10, 1964 as a “Breakout Single” in Milwaukee.

WASN’T THIS STOCK PHOTO ALREADY USED FOR THE ASTRONAUTS?
Germany

 

The Invasion” by Buchanan and Greenfield

peaked at #120 on October 3, 1964 [Novel]

  • This break-in record by Buchanan (and new partner) Greenfield proved to be a “Breakout Hit” in Chicago, according to Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
  • “The Invasion” allegedly was reissued in 1972.

 

Maybe the Last Time” [B-side] by James Brown and His Orchestra

peaked at #107 on October 10, 1964 [Smash]

  • A “Spotlight Single of the Week” (in the ‘Rhythm & Blues’ category) as designated by Billboard in its July 25, 1964 edition.
  • A “Breakout Single” in New York, according to Billboard‘s October 10, 1964 issue, plus “R&B National Breakout Single” as announced in Billboard‘s previous issue.
  • Also identified as a “Breakout Single” by DJs in NorfolkNashville, and Baltimore.

Picture sleeves  =  US Vs. Germany

 

Gale Winds” by Egyptian Combo

peaked at #103 on October 17, 1964 [Norman]

  • Billboard‘s October 10, 1964 issue reports in the ‘News of the World – Cincinnati’ column that “Ray Hill, veteran record promoter now working out of Cincy, has just concluded a 1,200-mile jaunt that took him to Louisville, Nashville, St. Louis and environs.  He reports success with ‘Gale Winds’ by Egyptian Combo [et al].”
  • Billboard‘s October 31, 1964 edition announces “Gale Winds” as a “Breakout Single” in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

“GALE WINDS” MADE TOP 20 ON CHICAGO’S WLS FOR WEEK OF OCT. 23, 1964
= Chart courtesy of Forgotten Hits 60s =

 

The Sloop Dance” [B-side] by The Vibrations

peaked at #109 on October 31, 1964 [Okeh]

Check out the purple promo

 

Find Another Love” by The Tams

peaked at #129 on November 7, 1964 [Arlen]

  • As reported in Billboard, “Find Another Love” was a “Record to Watch,” according to WJLB’s Ernie Durham (Detroit); WMOZ’s Ruben Hughes (Mobile); WSID’s Paul ‘Fat Daddy’ Johnson (Baltimore) & WUST’s Al Bell (Washington, DC).
  • “Find Another Love” was first issued on Philadelphia-based Arlen (1963) and then reissued by General American (1964) and King (1965).
  • In 1980, Gusto – who owns the King catalog – reissued “Find Another Love” (albeit as a B-side) with the specious claim that the recording was “originally produced by King Records” while misspelling “Cincinnatti” to boot!

Can you spot the two errors on this 45 label?

 

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone

peaked at #131 on December 5, 1964 [Philips]

“DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD” —
INCLUDED ON THIS 1967 EP FROM IRAN

 

Popping Popcorn” by Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez

peaked at #132 on January 2, 1965 [Okeh]

  • Says Billboard in their December 5, 1964 review — “Exciting driving beat combining rock and gospel.  Should be able to pop real big commercially.”
  • Cash Box‘s review in their December 5, 1964 review — “‘The Happy Organ’ man Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez joins the Okeh roster with this new outing and chances are he’ll make an impressive initial showing.  Side to watch is the exciting hand-clapping thumper, ‘Popping Popcorn,’ that sports some vocal comments along the way.  Great teen hop item.”

 

What a Shame” by The Rolling Stones

peaked at #124 on January 30, 1965 [London]

  • 45Cat contributor On the Flip Side asks, “So what’s the story with the very rare [picture sleeve]?  Obviously few of them printed.  Only a segment of promos, or how the hell did they determine the number of sleeves run?”
  • Sure enough, if you search Popsike, you will find that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for an original picture sleeve, with one person forking over $810 in 2018 after a 52-bid volley.
  • Also, what’s up with the Jagger-Richard songwriting credits on the 45 label?

 

Terry” by Twinkle

peaked at #110 on January 23, 1965 [Tollie]

  • Tollie (the VeeJay subsidiary label that issued The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” 45 in the US and credited the A & B sides as being written by “McCartney-Lennon“) apologizes for this release on the cover of the picture sleeve.

 

Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” by Bert Keyes Orchestra & Chorus

peaked at #132 on January 30, 1965 [Clock]

 

Don’t Answer the Door (Pts. 1&2)” by Jimmy Johnson Band with Hank Alexander

peaked at #128 on February 13,1965 [Magnum]

  • “Don’t Answer the Door” – covered by B.B. King (1966) & Lonnie Brooks (1979) – was a #16 R&B hit for Jimmy Johnson, as well as a #2 R&B hit for B.B. King the following year.

 

Banana Juice” by The Mar-Keys

peaked at #121 on April 3, 1965 [Stax]

  • In Billboard‘s April 3, 1965 edition, the word out of Memphis was that “The Mark-Kays [sic], whose new single ‘Banana Juice’ is climbing, has a European tour a-working, says Ray Brown of National Artists Attractions.”  Cash Box reported the same news in their “Record Ramblings” section of the April 24, 1964 edition.

 

Tiger-A-Go-Go” by Buzz and Bucky

peaked at #107 on May 1, 1965 [Amy]

  • Jan & Dean-style surf track with the unexpected lyric, “We met a California hippy who said come along with me now.”
  • 45Cat contributors note other pre-1967 uses of the word “hippy” in popular song meaning simply a “hip” person (e.g., 1963’s “South Street” by The Orlons or even Benny Golson in his spoken-word intro to 1959’s “Killer Joe” by The Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet).

 

The Girl From Greenwich Village” by The Trade Winds

peaked at #129 on May 1, 1965 [Red Bird]

  • Billboard had high hopes for this 45 in their Singles Reviews Spotlights, “Hot follow up to their ‘New York’s a Lonely Town’ success is a fast-paced rocker with hit written all over it.”

45 picture sleeve – Netherlands

 

Last Exit to Brooklyn by The Scott Bedford Four

peaked at #129 on May 8, 1965 [Joy]

  • Cash Box likewise had high hopes for this 45 in their “Newcomer Picks” review — “The Scott Bedford Four can rapidly make national names for themselves with this ultra-commercial Joy item called ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn.’  The tune is a rollicking hand-clapper all about a subway-riding Lothario with an infectious repeating rhythmic riff.”
  • Heavy question posed by the B-side: “Now I’m At The Top (How Do I Stay Here)”

 

It Hurts Me Too” by Elmore James

peaked at #106 on May 22, 1965 [Enjoy]

  • Wiki:  “When released in 1965, two years after James’ death, “It Hurts Me Too” spent eight weeks in the R&B chart, where it reached No. 25.  The song also appeared in the Billboard Pop chart at No. 106, which was James’ only single to do so.”

 

Nau Ninny Nau” by Cannibal and the Headhunters

peaked at #133 on June 26, 1965 [Rampart]

  • Billboard‘s June 12, 1965 review notes — “‘The Land of 1000 Dances‘ group is back with a stronger piece of catchy dance material.  Well produced and performed novelty.”
  • #49 on June 19, 1965’s “Cash Box Singles – Looking Ahead” chart, which I now understand to mean “a compilation, in order of strength, of up and coming records showing signs of breaking into The Cash Box Top 100.”

 

Happy Feet Time” by The Monclairs

peaked at #108 on July 10, 1965 [Sunburst]

1966 single – France

 

Unwind the Twine” by Alvin Cash & the Crawlers

peaked at #134 on July 24, 1965 [Mar-V-Lus]

  • Alvin Cash (of “Twine Time” fame) and the Crawlers breathe new life into the Twine thing.
  • KGFJ’s Al Scott in Los Angeles (one of the “Top R&B Jockeys”) pegged this song as a Pick-of-the-Week in Billboard‘s July 24, 1965 edition.

 

Whittier Boulevard” by Thee Midnighters

peaked at #127 on September 4, 1965 [Chattahoochee]

 

Sea Cruise” by The Hondells

peaked at #131 on October 16, 1965 [Mercury]

 

The Last Thing On My Mind” by The Vejtables

peaked at #117 on November 27, 1965 [Autumn]

  • Produced by Marty Cooper (of “Hamburger Patti” fame).
  • Says Cash Box in their review published in the November 13, 1965 edition — “The folk-rock field has been greatly enhanced by this fine group, which had a recent noise-maker, ‘I Still Love You.’  Top end here, ‘The Last Thing On My Mind,’ should put the team into deeper chart territory.  It’s infectious with a catch-on-quickly manner.”
  • “Last Thing on My Mind” was a “Breakout Single” in San Francisco, according to Billboard in their November 27, 1965 edition.

1965 French EP sold for £184 ($207) in 2016

 

Party People” by Ray Stevens

peaked at #130 on December 18, 1965 [Monument]

  • “Party People” is a 45-only track (that would later be issued on compact disc) on Stevens’ first single for Monument after leaving Mercury.
  • Says Billboard , who predicted the A-side to reach the Top 60, “Well-written lyric material from the pen of Joe South serves as a pop, driving production number that should spiral Stevens rapidly up the chart.”

 

“(You GotThe Gamma Goochee” [B-side] by The Kingsmen

peaked at #122 on December 25, 1965 [Wand]

  • Billboard‘s review confirms that “Gamma Goochie” was the flip side — and yet obviously considered the A-side when released in Europe.

German 45                                         French EP

 

A Beginning From an End” [B-side] by Jan and Dean

peaked at #109 on January 1, 1966 [Liberty]

 

Where Did She Go” by Steff

peaked at #124 on January 22, 1966 [Epic]

  • According to Discogs, Steff is a “German singer, born on December 27, 1943 in China.  Later he worked and lived in France, Germany and since the 60’s in Switzerland.  He also runs his own studio and worked as an engineer and producer in between his singing career” — link to his website.

 

You Bring Me Down” by The Royalettes

peaked at #116 on February 5, 1966 [MGM]

picture sleeve for the US market

 

Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles Bounce About Above the Water” by Shirley Ellis

peaked at #135 on February 5, 1966 [Congress]

 

That’s Part of the Game” by The Daytrippers

peaked at #129 on February 26, 1966 [Karate]

  • Cash Box‘s review in their February 12, 1966 edition is optimistic — “The A-side is a hard-driving rhythmic teen-angled ode which advises a Live-and-Let-Live attitude in romantic situations.”

 

Don’t Push Me” by Hedgehoppers Anonymous

peaked at #110 on March 19, 1966 [Parrot]

  • UK beat group who, according to Discogs, “formed in November 1963 as The Trendsetters, and became The Hedgehoppers the following year.  Jonathan King took over their record production in 1965, and added “Anonymous” to their name when they said they were popular in Peterborough, and did not want to change their name completely.”

 

Daddy’s Baby” by Ted Taylor

peaked at #129 on March 26, 1966 [Okeh]

  • “Daddy’s Baby” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Baltimore, as reported in Billboard‘s October 22, 1966 edition.

Cash Box review thanks to 45Cat’s davie gordon

 

I’m a Good Guy” by The C.O.D.’s

peaked at #128 on April 2, 1966 [Kellmac]

  • Designated as an “Up and Coming Single” in Record World‘s April 30, 1966 edition — distributed by One-Derful Records.

 

I Lie Awake” by The New Colony Six

peaked at #111 on April 16, 1966 [Centaur]

 

It Ain’t Necessary” by Mamie Galore

peaked at #132 on April 23, 1966 [St. Lawrence]

 

I’ve Got a Secret” by The Sharpees

peaked at #133 on May 7, 1966 [One-derful!]

  • Record World‘s review in their April 30 edition — “Ballad is in R&B groove, but a strong, strong bet for plenty of pop play.  Very sharp.”
  • Cash Box‘s review — “The Sharpees let loose with a generous portion of R&B wailing on this lid.  Spicing the side with a contagious jerk-tempo rhythm, the group could do well among teen buyers.”

 

Wigglin’ and Gigglin’” by Roy Head

peaked at #110 on May 21, 1966 [Back Beat]

  • “Wigglin’ and Gigglin'” made the Top 40 on Houston’s KYOK AM during the week of May 12, 1966.
  • This Billboard ad for Don Robey’s Duke and Backbeat Records playfully emphasizes the “freshness” of this latest Roy Head recording — “First fresh cut record since ‘Treat Her Right.’  All later releases on Roy Head were old ‘off the shelf.’  This is fresh from the studio.  Acclaimed by many to become a ‘Top 10’ picked before it was released …”
  • Listed at the #15 spot on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending July 2, 1966.

 

A Street That Rhymes at Six A.M.” by Norma Tanega

peaked at #129 on May 21, 1966 [New Voice]

  • Norma Tanega perhaps better known for “Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog” also from 1966.
  • “Street That Rhymes at Six A.M.” — arranged, produced & conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe Productions — was released in the US, Canada, and South Africa.
  • Predicted to reach the Top 60, Billboard writes in its review — “Off-beat lyric ballad penned by Miss Tanega that swings in the same vein as ‘Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog.'”
  • Virgo issued “Walkin’ My Cat” b/w “Street That Rhymes” in 1972 (and rightly so).

 

What’s A Nice Kid Like You Doing In A Place Like This?” by Scatman Crothers

peaked at #129 on May 21, 1966 [HBR]

  • Released on Hanna Barbera’s own record label, primary reason being that the recording comes from the Hanna-Barbera TV special “(The New) Alice in Wonderland, or, What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?”

 

I Feel Good” by The Sheep

peaked at #130 on May 28, 1966 [Boom]

  • The Sheep are a songwriting and production team — Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer (i.e, soon to be Seymour Stein’s Sire partner) — who had previously musically incarnated as The Strangeloves (pretending to be Australian brothers), best known for “I Want Candy.”
  • Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60, offered this critique — “Pulsating dance beat rocker aimed at the teen market should equal their initial disk click [i.e., debut 45 ‘Hide and Seek‘].”

 

It’s You Alone” by The Wailers

peaked at #118 on June 11, 1966 [United Artists/Etiquette]

  • YouTube clip above includes historic images of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
  • The “It’s You Alone” 45 appears to have initially released on Etiquette and then picked up by United Artists for national distribution.
  • A-side hits Top 5 in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its May 7, 1966 edition — also a “Regional Breakout” hit in the San Francisco area.

 

Sock It To ’em J.B. (Pt. 1)” by Rex Marvin and the Mighty Cravers

peaked at #110 on June 25, 1966 [Like]

  • Song title and concept works on two levels, in that “J.B.” = James Brown and James Bond.
  • Billboard was initially optimistic about this 45’s prospects in its review — “Unique, blues-tinged rocker with excellent sax backing could prove a big one.  Disk [label] is distributed by Atlantic.”
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Pittsburgh and Atlanta, according to Billboard.

 

Look at Me Girl” by The Playboys of Edinburg

peaked at #108 on July 16, 1966 [Columbia]

  • Single appears to have been released on McAllen, Texas-based label, Pharaoh, then picked up by Columbia for wider distribution.
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Houston, so says Billboard, whose review in the July 2, 1966 edition enthuses — “Exciting debut for the American group with the British sound.  High-pitched, well-blended vocal and teen dance combined for a chart-busting number.”

 

El Pito” by Joe Cuba Sextet

peaked at #115 on August 6, 1966 [Tico]

  • ‘El Pito’ Makes the Chart — Thanks to R&B Stations,” reports Billboard in its August 13, 1966 edition:  “The Latin American-flavored r&b record by Joe Cuba has received heavy airplay in New York on r&b and jazz radio stations.  ‘We’ve sold 70,000 in New York alone, said Red Schwartz, national promotion chief of Roulette Records and its Tico subsidiary.  George Wilson, program director of WHAT, in Philadelphia, heard it being played on a visit here.  He telephoned me from Philadephia saying he’d make it a pick of the week if I’d send him some copies to play.  I sent him a couple of copies and band, the record spread like wildfire.”

Cash Box ad from July 1966 – courtesy 45Cat

 

She Ain’t Lovin’ You” by The Distant Cousins

peaked at #102 on August 27, 1966 [Date]

  • Arranged & conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe, the song’s co-composer, with The Distant Cousins — Larry Brown (from Milledgeville, Georgia) and Raymond Bloodworth (from Newark, NJ) — who met while serving with the US Army Signal Corps at training school where, Billboard informs us, they were assigned alphabetically.
  • Billboard reported on August 27, 1966 that The Distant Cousins are “on promotional tour in Pittsburgh and Cleveland where the disc is way out front!”

 

Love’s Gone Bad” by Chris Clark

peaked at #105 on October 1, 1966 [V.I.P.]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in St. Louis, according to Billboard, from Chris Clark, one of Motown’s lesser-known “blue-eyed” recording artists.
  • “Love’s Gone Bad,” notes Cash Box, is “making inroads in several important Canadian centres and is shaping up through exposure on CKLG, Vancouver.”
  • According to Discogs, “Clark became famous in England as the ‘white Negress’ (a nickname meant as a compliment), since she toured with fellow Motown artists.”

Someone paid €571 in 2014 for this 1967 French EP

 

The Willy” by The Willies

peaked at #113 on October 8, 1966 [Co & Ce]

  • This 45 appears to have been released by Hollywood indie Blue River (where it was the B-side) before getting a 2nd release in September on Pittsburgh-based Co & Ce (where it was the A-side) for East Coast distribution.
  • Just squeaked onto Cash Box‘s Top 100 chart at #95 on November 19, 1966.
  • Classic 45s declares, “Terrific bubblegum silliness on the A side.”

 

Love Is a Bird” by The Knickerbockers

peaked at #133 on October 22, 1966 [Challenge]

  • Beautiful effect on the guitar during the bridge the gives a sitar-like sound.
  • “You’re gonna get hurt if you try to cage it, you’ll just enrage it” (love is a bird, you know).
  • Billboard notes in its October 8, 1966 review — “Back in the groove of ‘Lies,’ the group should have no trouble shooting up the chart with this swinger.”

 

She Digs My Love” by The Sir Douglas Quintet

peaked at #132 on October 29, 1966 [Tribe]

 

Hymn #5” by The Mighty Hannibal

peaked at #115 on November 19, 1966 [Josie]

  • Originally released on Atlanta’s Shurfine (soul label founded by Wendell Parker) — single then got picked up by Josie (subsidiary of Jubilee) for national distribution.
  • Light in the Attic points out that “this commentary on the effects of the Vietnam War on servicemen” was The Mighty Hannibal’s biggest hit, despite the fact that it was “banned on radio.”

 

Bears” by The Fastest Group Alive

peaked at #133 on November 26, 1966

  • According to Psychedelicized.com, “There isn’t very much known about the Fastest Group Alive.  The band had a regional hit in the Northwest USA with ‘The Bears’ in 1966.  The Fastest Group Alive consisted of Jeff Thomas, Daniel Moore, Matthew Moore, and James Flemming Rasmussen.  The band recorded two singles for the Valiant label.”
  • Original 45 released on Seattle-based Teem label, before the masters were purchased by Valiant, as reported in Billboard.

 

I’m Your Bread Maker, Baby” by Slim Harpo

peaked at #116 on December 1, 1966 [Excello]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Milwaukee, as reported by Billboard., who predicted the song to go Top 10 R&B in their review — “This wild, wailing number is a topper for ‘Baby, Scratch My Back‘ and should meet with a fast sales impact.  Much pop potential as well.”

 

Smashed! Blocked!” by John’s Children

peaked at #102 on December 1, 1966 [While Whale]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Los Angeles, as reported by Billboard.

Chart courtesy of So Many Records, So Little Time

 

Plain Jane” by B.J. Thomas

peaked at #129 on December 17, 1966 [Scepter]

 

Grits ‘n’ Corn Bread” by The Soul Runners

peaked at #103 on January 14, 1967 [MoSoul]

  • “Grits ‘n’ Corn Bread” — featured in Zero to 180’s musical salute to grits.
  • The Soul Runners changed their name to The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band in 1967.

The band’s only non-US release = Netherlands

 

 

Life Is Groovy” by United States Double Quartet = The Tokens & Kirby Stone Four

peaked at #110 on January 28, 1967 [B.T. Puppy]

  • Two quartets — The Tokens and The Kirby Stone Four — for the price of one.
  • This song ranked 23rd in Billboard‘s Top 40 of the “best selling middle-of-the-road singles” for the week of February 11, 1967.

 

Ballad of Walter Wart” by The Thorndike Pickledish Choir

peaked at #131 on February 4, 1967 [MTA]

  • “Thorndike Pickledish” is the alter ego of Seattle disk jockey, Robert O. Smith, who says “the record was responsible for me coming to the attention of the KJR (Seattle) management and was, in part, responsible for my moving from KMBY in Monterey.”
  • “Ballad of Walter Wart” was a “Breakout Regional Single” in Seattle, as well as the Twin Cities area.

Can you spot the typo?

 

Rain Rain Go Away” by Lee Dorsey

peaked at #105 on February 4, 1967 [Amy]

  • 45-only track by Allan Toussaint that would be included later on Sundazed’s CD reissue of 1966’s Working in the Coalmine — Holy Cow album.
  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Baltimore, as reported by Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60 in its review — “Right in the groove of his “Holy Cow” and “Coal Mine” hits is this pulsating rhythm rocker, which should bring Dorsey back onto the Hot 100 in a hurry.”

1967 EP – France

 

What’s That Got to Do With Me” by Jim and Jean

peaked at #123 on March 18, 1967 [Verve]

According to Vancouver Signature Sounds” —

  • Jim & Jean were a folk duo composed of Jim Glover, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, born in 1942, and New Yorker, Jean Ray, who was born in  1941.
  • Glover, while attending Ohio State University, met Phil Ochs, who would write the liner notes for the duo’s debut album.
  • After their second album, Jim & Jean released what, at the time, was a non-album single titled “Whats’ That Got To Do With Me.”
  • “What’s That Got To Do With Me” peaked in the Top 30 in San Jose, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Seattle, while making the Top 20 in Santa Rosa (#16), San Diego (#15) and Vancouver (#11).  Its best chart run was in Madison, Wisconsin, where the song reached #7.

Update:  Sly & the Family Stone recorded a version in July 1967 during sessions for their debut album that finally saw release in 2013.

 

Go Go Radio Moscow” by Nikita the K And the Friends of Ed Labunski

peaked at #105 on March 25, 1967 [Warner Bros.]

 

California On My Mind” by The Coastliners

peaked at #115 on April 8, 1967 [D.E.A.R.]

  • Note the far-out phasing used for effect in the chorus.
  • Says Cash Box in its review — “Spirited, rhythmic melody-rocker could do good things for the Coastliners.  Chart material.”

 

Double Yellow Line” by The Music Machine

peaked at #111 on May 13, 1967 [Original Sound]

  • Says Billboard in its review — “Smooth rocker with groovy organ work and wailing vocal workout will have no trouble spiraling the ‘Talk Talk‘ group back up the charts.”

 

Four Walls (Three Windows and Two Doors)” by J.J. Jackson

peaked at #123 on July 15, 1967 [Calla]

  • “Four Walls” peaked at #17 on Billboard‘s R&B chart.
  • #82 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending July 29, 1967.

 

Sally Sayin’ Somethin’” by Billy Harner

peaked at #118 on August 19, 1967 [Kama Sutra]

  • Delaware Liberal awarded this track “Song of the Day” last September and provided some historical background:  “If you didn’t live in the Philadelphia area, you might not know this Northern Soul classic, but it was all over WIBG in the summer of ’67.  It also charted in New York and LA, but failed to break out nationally.  It probably didn’t help that Harner was such a big draw at the Jersey Shore that he didn’t have to tour outside the region (he was the last headliner at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier).”

 

Heavy Music (Pt. 1)” by Bob Seger & the Last Heard 

peaked at #103 on September 9, 1967 [Cameo]Bu

  • #84 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending September 16, 1967.

 

As Long As You’re Here” by Zalman Yanovsky

peaked at #101 on October 7, 1967 [Buddah]

  • Concluding images of this bizarro video for “As Long As You’re Here” (by the lead guitarist for The Lovin’ Spoonful) include historic footage of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
  • Bet you won’t flinch when I inform you that the B-side is merely the A-side played backwards (a topic that has been addressed in several prior posts).
  • “As Long As You’re Here,” produced and arranged by Jack Nitzsche, is a 45-only release not found on Yanovsky’s lone solo album, Alive and Well in Argentina — except on the Japanese and UK reissues.

45 — France

 

Hunk of Funk” by Gene Dozier and the Brotherhood

peaked at #121 on October 7, 1967 [Minit]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in the Washington, DC area, as reported by Billboard.
  • #46 position in Billboard‘s Top Selling R&B Singles chart for the week ending October 28, 1967.

 

Sand” [B-side] by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood

peaked at #107 on October 28, 1967 [Reprise]

  • Written & produced by Lee Hazlewood and arranged by Billy Strange, “Sand” — the B-side for “Lady Bird” — includes a backwards guitar break.
  • Top 10 hit in Thailand, as reported by Billboard in their December 2, 1967 edition.

Art nouveau picture sleeve – Netherlands

 

I Want Some More” by Jon and Robin and the In Crowd

peaked at #108 on November 4, 1967 [Abnak]

  • “Regional Breakout Single” in Nashville and Houston, as reported in Billboard.
  • Both Sides Now Publications has the back story — “Dallas, Texas-based Abnak Records was part of Abnak Music Enterprises, Inc., founded by successful Fort Worth insurance man John H. Abdnor, Sr.  His son, John Howard Abdnor, Jr., otherwise known as Jon Abnor, was a part of the duo Jon & Robin.  The elder Abdnor apparently started the label as a vehicle for his son’s musical interests, but quickly also became involved on the business end when he signed the Five Americans and he became their personal manager.”

 

This Thing Called Love” by The Webs

peaked at #102 on December 2, 1967 [Pop-Side]

  • #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending December 23, 1967.

 

Kites Are Fun” by The Free Design

peaked at #114 on December 23, 1967 [Project 3]

  • “Kites Are Fun” — a “Regional Breakout Single” in Buffalo — reached the #34 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 chart, as reported in the December 30, 1967 edition.
  • Uncredited as producer on “Kites Are Fun” is Enoch Light, founder and president of Project 3 Records.
  • This past February, 45Cat contributor Ort. Carlton posted this related anecdote — “One night as I was waist deep in my radio show, a stock copy of this going around on the turntable, the phone rang.  A woman was crying. “You MUST tell me who this is!  This record has enchanted me since I first heard it when I was 9 years old on WPTR in Albany, New York!”  So I told her, and informed her of the group’s website.  She messaged them, and heard back; they were deeply touched.  And so was she.  And so am I.  This record will always be very special to me because I got two widget cans of Guinness as a finder’s fee from the fine lady in question.”
  • Zero to 180 piece from 2016 — “The Free Design Have Found Love

Link to PART TWO = Quirky 45s That “Bubbled Under” 1959-1976

Jan & Dean: Avant-Pop Pioneers?

I picked up a double album anthology of Jan & Dean‘s best work and found myself rather bemused by one particular track – and outright befuddled by an entire album side:

Jan & Dean

First, the song — 1964’s “The Anaheim, Azusa & Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association,” one of the odder pop refrains and my entry for Most Ungainly Song Title Award:

Anaheim, Azusa & Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review & Timing Association

[Pssst: Click on the triangle above to hear “The Anaheim, Azusa & Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review & Timing Association” by Jan & Dean.]

I love the muscular opening, as well as the song’s sheer goofiness, while the satiric edge of the lyrics challenge conventional notions of the group as mere musical lightweights.  This one song would seem to anticipate “the cutting-edge comedy concepts” (Wikipedia) of the next two years, 1965-1966, which saw the release of Jan And Dean Meet Batman and Filet of Soul.

Which brings us to side 4 of the Jan & Dean Anthology Album.  All it takes is one listen.  This stuff is, shall we say, pretty out there.  There are some telling clues on the back cover, however, that I only now notice in retrospect.  For one thing, the first 3 sides are grouped together as a unit at the top of the back cover, while side 4 is all by its lonesome on the bottom.  But a more subtle touch – none of the tracks on side 4 list the recording dates as is done for each of the songs on the other 3 sides.

And then you look at the song titles themselves:  “Pigeon Joke”; “Brass Section Intro”; “Beatle Part of Our Portion“; “Thank You Dean,” and the like.  As it turns out, side 4 is a 20-minute selection from the never-released Filet of Soul album.  As Mark A. Moore, preeminent Jan & Dean scholar, so aptly puts it, Filet of Soul can only be described as “Jan & Dean as a nightclub act … in the Twilight Zone.”   The mixed-media splicing techniques on display on side 4, which I determined later to have been recorded in the months straddling 1965-66, seem to be somewhat unprecedented in pop music.  And very much along the lines of the innovative audio engineering – and caustic social commentary – made famous on Freak Out by Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, their debut (and one of rock’s first double LPs), but more importantly, a hugely influential album that got the lion’s share of the credit for the use of music as cutting-edge social satire (that, at times, also delights in the sophomoric), even though Filet of Soul predates the release of Freak Out by at least several months.

But given that the original Filet of Soul:  A “Live” One was rejected by Liberty (possibly as many as 3 times) and never released in its day, it is very easy to see why Zappa & the Mothers got all the glory as innovators in this particular realm of pop music.  Perhaps it is inaccurate to call this music “pop,” since its very prickliness limits its appeal to a fairly narrow segment of the popular market.

Even though the selections on side 4 seemed to skewer (in no particular order) their fans, the record industry, the South, and the Beatles, most of all Jan & Dean seem intent on violently deconstructing their own squeaky-clean popular image.   I can only assume that this aspect of the Jan & Dean story inspired the Monkees to do something somewhat similar a couple years later with the release of their icon-busting, surrealist anti-Monkee cinematic misadventure, Head.

Caution:  These two excerpts from side 4 are for the musically adventurous only – not advised for those who have little to no patience for juvenility or humor in their music.

Jan & Dean-1
Jan & Dean-2

What’s nice about both of these clips is that you get to hear Jan & Dean announce each of the musicians in the band – since the album is a “live” one – and these are all top L.A. studio musicians that have played, often uncredited, on countless pop hits.

Final note – Liberty did release something in 1966 called Filet of Soul, but alas, it is nearly devoid of any strangeness and bears little to no resemblance to the selections mysteriously included on side 4 of the anthology.  Mark A. Moore lists the running order of one bootleg acetate of the Filet of Soul album – this is the “long” version:

  • Honolulu Lulu
  • Boys Down at the Plant
  • Cathy’s Clown (short version)
  • Pigeon Joke / Rhino Joke
  • Brass Section Intro
  • Dead Man’s Curve (short version)
  • Beatle Part of Our Portion
  • Rhythm Section Intro
  • Michelle
  • Whistling Dixie
  • Thank You Dean
  • Norwegian Wood
  • 1-2-3
  • Lightning Strikes
  • Hide Your Love Away
  • And Now Back to the Show
  • Let’s Hang On Intro
  • Hang On Sloopy