It's far from hip to admit digging the Dead in many circles, but when it comes to music, bein' hip just ain't where it's at for me. While I make no claims of loving everything they did, there's a huge chunk of their work recorded up to around 1974 that I love dearly.
If you're a naysayer and have read so far, GREAT! You just may dig these early sides from the group.
First up we have a fantastic collaboration between the Dead and jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks (of vocal group Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross). On paper it shouldn't work, but this two sided slab of social commentary is truly one of the great lost singles of the '60's. These sides were recorded shortly before the Dead's 1967 debut LP, and finds the group at its bluesy, garagey best, capped off with a very soulful vocal from Mr. Hendricks.
Taken from The Dead's eponymous debut (1967), 'Cream Puff War' is a garage punker every bit as intense as Love's '7 & 7 Is', with a manic energy that was no doubt intensified by the groups (admitted) use of amphetamines during the sessions. Wish they would have explored this territory a bit more, but I'm thankful nonetheless that this one example was cut to wax.
""WHERE IT'S AT" Pt 1 featured 4 Vancouver bands from the 1960s - The Collectors, The Poppy Family, My Indole Ring and Papa Bear's Medicine Show, all introduced by British recording star Lulu ("To Sir With Love"). The Collectors with Howie Vickers (lead vocals), Bill Henderson (lead guitar/ later lead with Chilliwack), Claire Lawrence (sax), Glenn Miller (bass), Ross Turney (drums) with a sound described as New Vibrations, performed "Lydia Purple." The Poppy Family with Terry (guitar) & Susan Jacks (lead vocals), Craig McCaw (sitar) and Satwant Singh (tablas), performed raga rock with "Beyond the Clouds." My Indole Ring with John King (lead vocals) were a psych or acid rock band. Their songs were "Wake Me, Shake Me"/"Orange Float Petals." Finally Papa Bear's Medicine Band with Vic Stewart (lead vocals) played goodtime music and their song "Georgie." Craig Wood was Papa Bear. The CBC national pop music series "Let's Go" ended in June 1968 followed by a CBC Vancouver Special "Where It's At" featured each well known band performing a different type of music from the pop music field. A series of the same name followed and lasted till June 1969."
Not only does this record not spin at 45 RPM (it's a 7" 33) but it ain't even an original copy (it's a counterfeit of the rare 1978 original). Doesn't matter though; what's contained within the grooves is some of the most white-hot rock n roll that was cut to tape in the 1970's. Turn it up LOUD.
It's with a heavy heart that I write this post; as I was The Stooges touring guitar tech for a few years, I was fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time with the late, great Scott Asheton (aka Rock Action). Not only was the man a force of nature behind the drum kit, but he was a generous, kind soul and a remarkable human being.
Teamed up with former MC5 guitarist Fred Smith, Rationals vocalist Scott Morgan and bass player Gary Rasmussen from The Up, Sonic's was a Detroit rock n roll supergroup that ran on high octane fuel and burned at 400 horsepower and then some thanks in no small part to the talents of the four members, but GOD DAMN does Scott drive this track into a whole other dimension with his drumming. Sadly, the group never released an LP during their lifetime. One thing I'll share with you that Scott said to me once was that he felt as a drummer that 'the music played him'. He was practically a poet in how he bashed out the beats.