"... Got giant holes in my shoe
My big toe, it sticks through
Ain’t had a hair-cut in four years
You can’t even see my ears
[No count, no count, you better move on] I won’t be around no more
[No count, no count, you better be gone] Yeah, I’ll be gone
[No count, no count, don't show your face] I’m a no count, I gotta leave this place ... "
(Writer: Ty Wagner
Published: Signature Music (BMI)
From: I’m a No Count (7″, US Chattahoochee CH 699; 11/1965)
While "Punk-rock" was a journalistic term (and probably a records collectors' one too ) first used in the early seventies to describe the kind of 60's US Garage-band 45 music compiled on Nuggets and written about in various magazines and fanzines like Creem and Bomp, there's been a lot of talk of "Garage-Punk" (Lenny Kaye first used the term "classic garage-punk," in reference to a song recorded in 1966 by The Shadows of Knight, in the liner notes to Nuggets... ) when in actual fact few Garage-rock records of the sixties were really "Punk" in attitude and music; more likely, these garage records covered a lot of ground, with styles varying from (and starting with! ) instrumental Surf-rock to Heavy-rock and Folk-Rock, R&B and Blue-eyed Soul, Psychedelic Acid-rock, Sunshine Baroque Pop... and everything else in between!
Some of the few authentic "Punk-rock" of the sixties included records by the Sonics, the Monks, Swamp Rats, Los Saicos, the Groupies, the Magic Plants (of "I'm a Nothing" fame), early Seeds, aforementionned Shadows of Knight... and Ty Wagner and the Scotchmen :
Hell! The first time I heard that song in the mid-1980's at Tim Warren's Paris newly-wed appartment, from volume two of "The Chosen Few" comp' series that was playing on his HiFi, I was moved to wanna name my first band project a couple years later to that song, so much I felt related to it's attitude and lyrics... (Of course, after sarcastic comments from friends that likened the name too much to the Count V, laughing at how Garage-clichéd it seemed, I had it changed to The Tribe; but later I still named an intermediary group I had : "The No-Counts" after that song which was cult to me )!
Everybody into the Sixties Garage subculture has heard of scenes from other parts of the world : "Transworld Beat", it's been tagged by collectors (including the Far-East... ). But, while most are familiar with Japanese G.S., Rare Groove Djs having sampled the "Shadow Music" sounds of Thaïland and beginning to crate-dig the still mostly uncharted sounds of "Off-Beat Cha, Cha", a Hong Kong speciality, and Dutch Beat experts already digested the "Indo-rock" instrumental sounds of migrating groups from far-off Indonesia, the Heavy-Psych guitar sounds of the late 60's/ early 70's underground Korean scene being now recognised by the hip cognescenti... I feel the Best of all this exotica Beat comes from Cambodia's "Circle Dance Music" that, on top of having the best heady mix of swirling Freak-out Fuzz guitars and Traditional Folk rhythm and melodies, one step above "Turkish Delights", tells a truly fascinating tale of Romantic doom.
Ever since Parallel World released that limited vinyl comp' in 1996 : "Cambodian Rocks" compiled by an American tourist named Paul Wheeler from some cassettes he bought in Phnom Penh from a local Taxi diver whose service he used while touring around, I grew increasingly fascinated with that sound and what seemed to be a lost scene wiped-out by the genocide brought by the Khmer Rouge takeover of the country in 1975. Indeed, most of the original musicians were murdered and executed in the "Killing Fields" of communist reeducation. What seemed more tragic then was that the song titles and artist credits were unknown, their legacy forever lost, or so one thought... Four years later, Parallel World reissued this compilation on CD with a few extra tracks, but still without any identifying information.
But now, 7 years in the making a documentary full of never-before-seen archival footage and insightful present-day interviews is about to see the light of day : "Don't Think I've Forgotten - Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll". The movie director, John Pirozzi, is aiming to lock image by end of may this year, hoping before DVD release to get theatrical first!
... This in itself is something of a miracle, calling for a celebration all over the world of Garage-rock lovers, and the Mainstream Rock at large even! As it is one story untold that dies to be seen and heard, if only in respect to all the dead musicians : Rejoice!
Thanks to the survivors, now mostly part of the Khmer refugees in America and the West Coast, these doomed artists will finally R.I.P.
They deserve to be known and acknowledged worldwide.
Here's the documentary synopsis by co-producer John Pirozzi
"During the 60's and early 70's, as the war in Vietnam threatened its borders, a new music scene emerged in Cambodia that took Western rock and roll and stood it on its head - creating a sound like no other.
Cambodian musicians crafted this sound from the various rock music styles sweeping across America and England, adding the unique melodies and hypnotic rhythms of their traditional music. The b...eautiful singing of the renowned female vocalists became the final touch that made this mix so enticing.
As the peasant Khmer Rouge army closed in on the capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodian rock and rollers played at rooftop parties while bombs ignited the evening sky.
After taking over the country on April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge began one of the most brutal genocides in history, killing 2 million people - 1/4 of the Cambodian population. Intellectuals, artists and musicians were murdered simply for their status. Only a few miraculously survived to tell their story.
This documentary film, DON’T THINK I’VE FORGOTTEN, provides a new perspective on a country usually associated with war and genocide. By celebrating this powerful music, and the people who created it, Cambodia's musical heyday emerges from the shadows of tragedy into the light of history."
Check the Official trailer here :
(And you know what? ... Since then, some friendly contributors have dug
up all the missing info on that historical "Cambodian Rocks" comp'; here's the tracklist at last :
01. Yol Aularong - Jeas Cyclo (4:30)
02. Ros Sereysothea - Chnam oun Dop-Pram Muy (3:50)
03. Ros Sereysothea - Tngai Neas Kyom Yam Sra (2:14)
04. Yol Aularong + Tuk - Sou Slarp Kroam Kombut Srey (2:12)
05. Sinn Sisamouth - Srolanh Srey Touch (2:56)
06. Pan Ron - Rom Jongvak Twist (2:34)
07. Pan Ron - Knyom Mun Sok Jet Te (3:13)
08. Liev Tuk - Rom Sue Sue! (3:23)
09. Ros Sereysothea + Seang Vanthy - Jam 10 Kai Thiet (3:23)
10. Ros Sereysothea + Seang Vanthy - Jah Bong Ju Aim (3:36)
11. Sinn Sisamouth + Ros Sereysothea - Maok Pi Naok (1:54)
12. Sinn Sisamouth - Phneit Oun Mean Evey? (3:59)
13. Yol Aularong - Yuvajon Kouge Jet
14. Meas Samon - Jol Dondeung Kone Key
15. Ros Sereysothea - Kerh Songsa Kyoum Thai!
16. Ros Sereysothea - Chnang Jas Bai Chgn-ainj
17. Ros Sereysothea + Seang Vanthy - Kone Oksok Nas Pa
18. Ros Sereysothea - Kom Kung Twer Evey
19. Ros Sereysothea - Penh Jet Thai Bong Mouy
20. Pan Ron & In Yeng - Sralanh Srey Chnas
21. Sinn Sisamouth + Meas Samon - Komlos Teng Bey
22. Ros Sereysothea - Retrey Yung Joup Knea
... In 2003 the official "Khmer Rocks" site launched a CD only series of 4 volumes also called "Cambodian Rocks", this time with full credits and annotations :
And of course, Lion Productions later released two CD/ DoLP deluxes in their "Groove Club series Vol. 2 and 3 with full blown liners :
Check alternate Trailer video here : http://vimeo.com/19178517
Let's hope indeed this lost (and terribly Romantic) Rock'n'Roll story finaly gets told, SOON!
Thanks to Linda ;)
Related sites : (Check their Facebook page and Twitter profile for further updates! )
The decade of the 1990's out with some real and genuine promise, and my ears were especially glued to the sounds that Creation Records in the UK was releasing; music that had one foot rooted in the '60's but music that also looked forward. The early '90's was also a peak in hip hop, and the best of this music still stands tall today and doesn't feel dated. It was also cool to see bands that I loved (Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Mudhoney to name a few) get signed to big labels and start making a bigger dent in the cultural landscape. However, the ensuing signing frenzy saw to it that every lame wanna be "alternative" act was getting signed to a major label. I won't name names, but I worked in a record store from '91-'96 and looking back I can't BELIEVE the amount of dreck that got released, and the phony marketing that attempted to make boring wanna be rock stars rehashing plodding 70's themes into "alternative" stars. While I graduated high school in '93, I have no nostalgia whatsoever for the decade that gave us rap-rock and half baked, poorly written "indie rock".
Lilys were one of the exceptions- led by the amazing songwriter and frontman Kurt Heasley and a rotating cast of band membership in flux, Kurt's dabblings in shoegaze and psychedelia earned him a contract with Warner Brothers records; the resulting LP, Better Can't Make Your Life Better is one of the greatest distillations of mid '60's beat, with a smattering of songs that derive from the past in a way that one could easily be forgiven in thinking it was a great lost Kinks track, and an equal number of unique, quirky songs that were obviously the work of a very creative songwriter with a knack for unusual hooks and chord changes. Perhaps The Lilys ultimate statement of swinging London transported from '66 into '96 was a single released on Sub Pop Records at the same time as their major label debut. I've spun "Baby's A Dealer" at mod events and always have people ask me "WHAT is that record?" and they typically can't believe it when I tell them when it was recorded. Kurt has continued to release amazing albums; while they may not have as strong of an overt '60's sound, they are great listens nonetheless and full of excellent songwriting.
Since their first "official" release in 1992, The Brian Jonestown Massacre has consitently released creative and mind blowing records driven by the vision and songwriting of Anton Newcombe. 'Hide & Seek" is purely realized action music- the sound is dense but uncluttered, the intro guitar riff is an amazing hook, the verse hypnotic, and the chorus transcendant. The single is a tidy (and perfect) 3:34, and live, this song drives the guitar hook over and over until the wash of sound levitates the room; I've seen it create a real frenzy among the audience, in the way that the greatest music can. Listen to it over and over, and just dig the placement of the acoustic guitar, backing vocals, percussion, feedback and marvel at how everything propels the song forward and upward. Thankfully, I was hipped to the BJM thanks to my own band at the time having an album come out on Bomp! records at the same time that Jonestown released their Methodrone album; being as I didn't live in the bay area at the time and had never seen or heard about their previous records, I listened to the disc and couldn't BELIEVE my ears. Once again, it was as if the rooting of the '60's was being transported into the future, just as My Bloody Valentine's Loveless had done a few years earlier, but with songs that were so full of hooks (yeah, it's SONGWRITING that gets my attention first and foremost)! Luckily I was able to snag a copy of the 'Hide & Seek' 45 shortly afterwords, and every subsequent release has been an inspiration. Anton also posts exclusive tracks and works in progress to his youtube account.
I'll end with my unsolicited advice- BUY EVERY RELEASE YOU CAN FROM THE LILYS AND BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE.
Welcome back cats and kitties; this week's post is the first in yet another series- namely, some lesser known garage-y tracks from my 45 stash.
First up we have Jim Valley, known forever as Harpo, as he was named during his tenure as on of Paul Revere's Raiders (thanks to a striking resemblence to Harpo Marx). In late '65, original Raider lead guitarist Drake Levin decided to join the National Guard, as he was up to be drafted into the army. In early '66, The Raiders snatched up Jim Valley from the Portland-based Don & The Goodtimes to fill the vacant slot. Harpo became very popular with the fans, although he left the group in the spring of '67; harpo was expecting some of his own songs to be recorded in the group, and these promises were never fulfilled. This 45 was his first outside of the group, and is a strong guitar driven beat number, co-written by Don Galluci (the Don of Don & The Goodtimes, a former Kingsman, and future producer of The Stooges FUN HOUSE LP). Jim has released several solo records, but has concentrated on the heroic mission of teaching music to children since the early 1980's.
Until next time! Derek See
The Lost was fronted by Boston rock/ punk legend Willie Alexander, aka Lou reed's "replacement" in the Velvet Underground. Bassist Walter Powers also ended up as another Velveteen Underground member. While Alexander is a FINE singer (as heard on these sides), history probably would treat the post-Lou velvets more fairly a) if the Doug Yule led band changed their name and b) wasn't forced by their manager to only allow Doug Yule to play on their final LP.
But back to The Lost- like so many baby boomer teens, the members of the lost (Willie Alexander, vocals; Ted Myers, vocals & guitar; Hugh Magbie, vocals & guitar; Walter Powers,bass & vocals, and Tony Pfeiffer, drums) were highly influenced by the British Invasion, and formed a group around that sound and mod style (see the promo postcard below, borrowed from Alexander's website). The group, originally from Vermont, moved to Boston shortly after forming. The group's star rose quickly, and was scouted by Capitol Records who signed them in 1965.
Mark was a Hell of a frontman and Great singer in the Best garage-rock band American 60's Pop ever had : the Raiders... Even when they started taking the Bubble-gum route : always that driving Beat with Fuzz guitar undercurrent backing a Powerful Vocal! You can't beat that, even the Rolling Stones (despite whatever fans of Jagger & Richards say and the phoney slapstick comedy they indulged themselves into routinely; what the Beatles got away with Ye Olde Music 'all way, may have been descrediting to the Raiders for the Hipper-than-thou Hyp'O'crit Frisco hippie crowd, then... But now, later Punks burried all that snub : The Raiders are recognised Great pre-Punk rockers to History)!
So there, Long Live Mark Lindsay and his Raiders...
Until next time- please watch out for the police.