The Beatles Get Covered Part 2 – 25 More Of My Faves

So last month’s post was 25 fab covers of Beatles songs.  With several thousand to choose from, it only seems fair to add 25 more to make it an even 50 – so here goes.  Keep in mind the rules – only one cover allowed by any group and of any song (and honestly the order is pretty fluid).

26.Lee Rocker – I’ll Cry Instead

Truthfully it was so close between Joe Cocker’s version and this great rockabilly that it was painful to leave out one or the other last month (went with Joe since his was older).  This shows that the Stray Cats bassist (real name Leon Drucker) could hold his own as a lead singer (maybe better than Brian Setzer’s growlier voice).  The 2003 album Bulletproof is the source for this hot rocker.

27.Cheap Trick – Magical Mystery Tour

One of the greatest power pop bands of all-time, Cheap Trick does outstanding covers (notably Roy Wood –  “Blackberry Way”, “California Man”).  This song appears on the album The Greatest Hits.  It would have made the top 25 except for the last minute when the song wanders aimlessly to an end.

28.The Wallflowers – I’m Looking Through You

Son of Bob Dylan (Jakob) covers the Beatles  – and does a pretty darn good job of it.  The movie soundtrack to the 2001 movie i am sam was supposed to be Beatles songs, but the rights proved to be a problem thus the use of nothing but remakes.  As a covers album you could do worse than picking up this soundtrack (Eddie Vedder, The Black Crowes, Sheryl Crow, etc.).  The original name of Dylan’s band was The Apples (coincidence?).

29.Jake Shimabukuro – In My Life

While it was his 2006 version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that made this ukulele virtuoso a sensation,  “In My Life” is far more gentle and affecting.  Too bad John Lennon couldn’t hear this emotional version of his composition with only bass and uke.  Hawaiian born Shimabukuro has done several albums of simple instrumentals that make for great background music to a lazy day.  “In My Life” comes from his six-song 2007 EP My Life which also has a nice “Here, There And Everywhere” cover.

30.Ghost – Here Comes The Sun

From 1969’s Abbey Road, this is perhaps George Harrison’s best song.  It is such a light and happy song – except when done by these cartoonish Swedish heavy-metalers.  Ghost recorded the song in a minor key which seems to imply regret that the sun is coming up (perhaps a vampire needing to get to his coffin?).  Their cover is pretty tough to come by only appearing on the Japanese version of their 2010 debut LP Opus Eponymous (2011 in the U.S. and Japan).

31.Ramsey Lewis – Day Tripper

Jazz pianist Lewis has been recording since 1956, but it was his 1965 instrumental version of “The In Crowd” that made him popular with a larger audience.  His Wade In The Water album had this groovin’ take on the Beatles rocker “Day Tripper” – the #5 B-side to the #1 hit “We Can Work It Out”.  Lewis’ workout hit #74 in 1966.  The drummer for this record was Maurice White who later formed Earth, Wind & Fire.

32.The Smithereens – Don’t Bother Me

George Harrison’s first recorded composition wasn’t one of his best, but sounds pretty darn good as done by power poppers The Smithereens with crunchier guitar.  This was from their 2007 attempt at redoing the entire Meet The Beatles! album – appropriately titled Meet The Smithereens!.  Guitarist Jim Babjak proved to be a pretty fair lead vocalist on this song (the late Pat DiNizio sang lead normally).

33.Yes – Every Little Thing

In 1969 a new group appeared named Yes with a debut album of that same name.  Members were Jon Anderson lead vocals, Peter Banks guitars, Chris Squire bass, Tony Kaye keys and Bill Bruford drums.  Progressive and jazzy was their style.  Of the eight songs, two were covers including this workout on the Beatles VI album cut “Every Little Thing”.  Starting an aggressive jam, they settle into the song at about 1:43 save for a small foray into “Day Tripper”.  Live is where to appreciate Yes who have done excellent versions of this song through the years.

34.The Jeff Healey Band – Yer Blues

So once again it was hard to choose between Jeff Healey or Kenny Wayne Shepherd for last month’s blog version of John’s nasty “Yer Blues”.  A slight edge went to Shepherd, but Healey tears it up pretty good as well on his 1995 Cover To Cover album.  At age one, he lost his eyesight to cancer.  Starting at age three, Healey (who passed away just before his 42nd birthday in 2008 of cancer again) had an interesting way of playing the guitar – flat like a lap steel instead of up against his body.

35.Restless Heart – The Night Before

With occasional break-ups and reformations, Restless Heart have been performing country music since 1984.  In that time they placed 24 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.  For their 2004 comeback album Still Restless, the band turned in this acoustic workout of the 1965 movie song from Help! with fiddle and dobro for good measure.

36.Joemy Wilson – Eleanor Rigby

Beatles On Hammered Dulcimer is a fine 1989 album by Joemy Wilson which doesn’t appear on youtube (other than “For No One” which is okay, but not as good as “Eleanor Rigby”).  The gentle nature of “Eleanor Rigby” seems to fit the almost music-box sound.

37.Marianne Faithfull – Yesterday

While Paul’s now standard from 1965 was a #1 single in the U.S., it was left to folks like Matt Monro and Mick Jagger’s girlfriend to have the U.K. hits back then.  Faithfull’s version went to #36 over their in November of 1965 and featured an ethereal choir (arrangement by Mike Leander? who did the honors for the fabs on “She’s Leaving Home”).  It was nearly a toss-up between this gentle version and the psychedelic take by Eyes Of Blue.

38.Tony Furtado with Alison Krauss – I Will

Banjo player/guitarist Furtado is only a year older than this McCartney song from the 1968 double album The Beatles (vocalist Krause is three years younger than that LP).  This track is found on Furtado’s 1992 Rounder Records LP Within Reach.  On the original, John and Ringo provide percussion while Paul handles all the rest.

39.The Ventures – I Feel Fine

Bob Bogle, Nokie Edwards, Mel Taylor and Don Wilson were an amazing band.  With supposedly over 200 album releases, The Ventures have been the greatest American guitar instrumental band ever (The Shadows gave them a run for their money in the U.K.).  Back during the ’60s it seemed like every few weeks they would pump out an LP filled with contemporary covers of vocal songs done instrumentally along with a few originals.  “I Feel Fine” was cut by the Ventures at least three different ways back in the day – appearing on the 1965 Knock Me Out LP, Live In Japan ’65 (not released till later) and as the backing arrangement for “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” from their excellent Christmas album.

40.Gryphon – Mother Nature’s Son

Not too many bands have ever sported members playing bassoon and krumhorn, but that can be said for medieval progressive band Gryphon.  On their 1975 Transatlantic album Raindance, they chose to do one cover version – Paul’s White Album solo song “Mother Mature’s Son”.  Formed in 1973, Gryphon are still going as a band today.

41.The Helio Sequence – Tomorrow Never Knows

This live video doesn’t do justice to the excellent studio version on their 2000 album Com Plex, but that cut isn’t on youtube so at least you can see these two guys workout on stage.  Brandon Summers on guitar/vocals and Benjamin Weikel on drums, keys and vocals make up this Oregon band.  For better or for worse, the original Beatles track from Revolver can in many ways be credited as the first song to make extensive use of sampling (using tape loops brought into and out of the live mix).

42.The Hollyridge Strings – Love Me Do

Oh my, this is an embarrassing guilty pleasure.  Arranger Stu Phillips activated the catchall band name The Hollyridge Strings for this Capitol label cash-in for parents and rock & roll phobic kids.  They actually charted (albeit at only #93) with “All My Loving” from this LP back in the summer of 1964.  Phillips’ m.o. for this song was heavy echo and pizzicato strings with a bit of a backbeat (not too much however – didn’t want to get mom and dad too worked up).  The RNR Dentist owns several of their LPs covering everyone from The Beach Boys to Nat King Cole.   After Phillips, Mort Garson and Perry Botkin, Jr. carried the mantle forward for several years of Beatles covers.

43.Oasis – I Am The Walrus

Oasis (and specifically the brothers Gallagher) have been accused of borrowing heavily from The Beatles, but it is hard to criticize a band that loves ’60s British pop.  Released in 1994, Definitely Maybe was their debut album going on to sell over eight million copies worldwide.  One of the singles from that album was “Cigarettes & Alcohol” and the B-side was a loud nasty live version of John Lennon’s “I Am The Walrus”.  For the 2014 CD remaster release, two extra discs were added to the original release one of which included all the single sides.

44.Linda Ronstadt – Good Night

The Ringo sung White Album track “Good Night” was Lennon’s most tender song – written for son Julian.  It gets a bum rap as being sappy, but if you can hear this without getting choked up you are a better (?) man than I.  In 1996 Ronstadt released an album of lullabies – Dedicated To The One I Love with this as the closer.  It won a Grammy the following year.

45.Trouble Tribe – Dear Prudence

Don’t pay too much attention to the stupid video with the slow-motion women; only enjoy the fab cover of John’s White Album track.  This appeared on the self-titled 1990 hair-metal album by Trouble Tribe who didn’t have a lot of success, but did manage to put out a nice version of this song. It starts with easy guitars then gets heavier around the 1:16 mark.

46.Liverpool – Glass Onion

Yet another Lennon track from The Beatles, these guys do a pretty faithful take with an aggressively attractive bass part.  It can be found on the 1997 album In Our Own Way which was made up mostly of Beatle covers/medleys and a couple of very Merseybeat sounding originals.  There are so many Beatles cover bands that it is hard to find someone who hasn’t been in a Beatles cover band.  In addition to Liverpool, for instance, you have Liverpool Legends, Made In Liverpool, Liverpool – A Tribute To The Beatles, etc.

47.Gary Brooker – Old Brown Shoe

On Nov. 29, 2002 on the first anniversary of George Harrison’s passing, a musical gala was held in his honor.  The lead singer of Procol Harum, Gary Brooker, chipped in this rockin’ version of one of George’s most forgotten songs (and one of his best).  “Old Brown Shoe” was the B-side to the single “The Ballad of John and Yoko”.  The Concert For George album has some other goodies including Jeff Lynne’s “I Want To Tell You” and Eric Clapton’s “Beware Of Darkness”.

48.The Naturals – I Should Have Known Better

Back in the day, nearly every Beatles song could have charted (except maybe “Revolution #9”).  In the U.S. many more tracks by the Fab Four did indeed chart than in the U.K. where LPs, EPs and singles were mostly stand-alone affairs.  As the U.S. single B-side to “A Hard Day’s Night”, “I Should Have Known Better” did chart at #53 back in mid-1964 however it was only an album track in the U.K..  Many groups seized on The Beatles’ material for their own releases to capitalize and one such one-hit wonder was the British band The Naturals who had the only chart version of this song (#24) in their own country.  It’s a bit faster and driven by hand-clapping and everybody knows that all songs are better with hand-clapping (and maybe cowbell).

49.Me First & The Gimme Gimmes – All My Lovin’

Here we have an amped up punk-rock pastiche of the first song The Beatles performed on their Feb. 9, 1964 The Ed Sullivan Show debut.  Like the Dickies before them these guys have done punky covers of unexpected songs (starting with their 1995 single desecrating John Denver).  Apparently the name of the band is taken from a children’s book.  “All My Lovin'” is  found on their Blow In The Wind LP from 2001.  I include this as a tribute to the Rock N Roll Dental Assistant, Meagan who is a big fan of this group.

50.Translator – Cry For A Shadow

It seems fitting to end with a cover version of one of the oldest Beatles songs.  The Shadows were Cliff Richard’s backing band and managed a long career doing guitar instrumentals under the leadership of Hank Marvin.  As the only song credited to John Lennon & George Harrison in the Beatles canon, “Beatle Bop” was retitled as a tribute to The Shadows.  When the Beatles recorded in Germany back in 1961 mostly backing Tony Sheridan, it was certainly inconceivable that people would still be enjoying these recordings nearly six decades later.  For a new wave band that had limited success back on their initial run starting in 1979, it is amazing that Translator are still going today.  This cover version was a B-side to the single “Break Down Barriers” in 1983. It is also a bonus track on the 2008 CD re-release of their album No Time Like Now.


The Beatles Get Covered – 25 Of My Faves


Turntable Ted, ace record-collector and good friend, suggested this topic of my favorite Beatles cover versions.  What with the silly new movie (Yesterday) in the theaters about a mediocre singer who supposedly becomes a star covering the Fab Four in a world that has forgotten them, the topic seems relevant.  Looking at other online lists of favorite Beatle covers it became clear that very few of the versions your Dentist would chose have cropped up on other top lists.  With a basement with over 5000 cover versions to choose from, the process of elimination seemed daunting but was helped along because frankly most of the covers are awful (which is a great topic for a later date).  After whittling things down to 60 or so goodies, it becomes obvious that more than one post will be needed to do it properly so this is part one.  To keep things fair, only one version of a particular song will be included this time out.  Covering a Beatles song is generally an exercise in futility as you are trying to top the masters.  I am always torn – is it best to do a faithful copy or try to rearrange what the Beatles did originally?  Rocking it up (or slowing it down), adding some funk/soul or turning a Beatles pop song into a country hoedown are just a few ways acts tackle the tunes.  Guess you can decide (feel free to send comments with your choices).  These are not meant to be the best, most important, biggest hits, etc. – only your humble Rock N Roll Dentist’s fab 25.

1.Ringo Starr – I Call Your Name

A bit of a cheat perhaps as Ringo was one of them, but he didn’t sing the original version (John did) and it is hands down the best Beatles cover ever for me.  The band is made up of heavy-weights in Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh and Jim Keltner (more cowbell!).  This was only available as a video tribute to Mr. Lennon’s 50th birthday (and the 10th anniversary of his untimely passing).  It is truly a pity that this was never released on a legit record or CD as it is one of the best things Ringo has ever done.  Maybe a Ringo rarities set will rescue it from obscurity.

2.The Inmates – Little Child

The best album of Beatles cover versions is by far this rare 2001 UK import CD (The Inmates Meet The Beatles on Riverside/BMG) documenting a Paris concert from 1987.  The production by the late Vic Maile makes the sound jump out of the speakers showcasing what a fantastic rock and roll combo Bill Hurley and company were (you remember “Dirty Water”?).  While you could choose any song from this set, “Little Child” seems to surpass the original just in sheer energy.

3.Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out

Given production credit for the first time on this 1971 single (it hit #13 on the charts), Stevie changes things up from the 1965/66 #1 Beatles original hit by giving it some driving funk.  He supplies the clavinet (electric keyboard) and harmonica solo with backing from the Funk Brothers.

4.Link Wray – Please Please Me

The man behind the hot guitar instros “Rumble” and “Rawhide” was scheduled to release this as a 45 in April of 1965 on Swan.  The single was withdrawn and languished in the vaults until a series of Wray rarities albums on Norton Records resurrected it in 1990 (Some Kinda Nut – Missing Links Volume 3).  While it likely wouldn’t have charted, this instrumental version still rocks pretty good.

5.George Martin – Yellow Submarine In Pepperland

Okay this could be seen as cheating again as it was the last track on the Beatles soundtrack album, but it was an orchestral version arranged by their genius producer as opposed to the Ringo-sung original so it stays.  This arrangement was not from the film, but was specifically recorded for the Apple album.  This jaunty version combines a march with a flute middle section that emphasizes the childlike nature of the song.  Like it or hate it, the release on a Beatles album gave Martin a tidy royalty check.

6.Fairport Convention – Rain

For over four decades the British trad folk band Fairport Convention have hosted a highly successful festival in Cropredy (Oxfordshire, England).  Several import albums have chronicled the excellent music that had been played there including a boxset for the 1997 lineup from which this comes.  While he wasn’t in the band for long (six months in 1976), Breton musician Dan Ar Bras returns to take the lead on this searing workout.  The power of the band and lead guitar work make you want to duck and cover to avoid the deluge.

7.Joe Cocker – I’ll Cry Instead

When you think of Joe Cocker covering the Beatles, the first song that comes to mind is “With A Little Help From My Friends” due to his hit U.K. single and powerful 1969 performance at Woodstock.  Go back five years to his first record, however, and you get this excellent rockabilly cover.  Cocker had been performing as Vance Arnold when he signed with Decca in England to release this non-charter (the 45 was on Philips in the U.S.).  The production was by Mike Leander who arranged the strings on “She’s Leaving Home” for the Beatles (he also was behind Paul Raven/Gadd getting reborn as Gary Glitter – “Rock & Roll, Part 2”).

8.Elton John – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Elton once asked his friend John Lennon if there was a song of his that would have made a good single, but wasn’t released as such.  Lennon replied “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” from the Sgt. Pepper album (which didn’t have any 45s taken from it at the time).  In 1974 with help from Lennon as Dr. Winston O’Boogie (guitar and vocals), Elton recorded this cover at Caribou Ranch in Colorado.  The single ended up being the first #1 of 1975.  Lennon performed this song as part of a three song guest appearance with Elton John on Thanksgiving  night 1974.

9.The Sweet – Paperback Writer

Had The Sweet not become glam rock stars in the ’70s this version would have never surfaced as it was only recorded for playback on a British BBC radio program.  While it is too bad a cleaner studio recording wasn’t done, the digital era has allowed a remastered version to see the light of laser on a CD of their Beeb recordings.  The Beatles’ original was a #1 hit in the summer of 1966 and heralded a bit of a heavier sound.

10.The Georgia Satellites – Don’t Pass Me By

Ringo’s “Don’t Pass Me By” was a bit of a country throwaway from The Beatles that didn’t even have George or John playing on it.  For their 1988 LP Open All Night, the Atlanta band The Georgia Satellites really rocked the original up greatly improving on the song with classic Chuck Berry-like guitar riffage.  The only song people remember by these guys is the rocker “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”, but they put out some other classic three chord rock and roll (leader Dan Baird continues to fire off excellent albums to this day).

11.The Dillards – I’ve Just Seen A Face

Doug and Rodney Dillard from Salem, Missouri formed a bluegrass band using their last name and are mostly remembered as the Darling family appearing from 1963-66 on The Andy Griffith Show.  With electrified instrumentation and longer hair, they pioneered bluegrass for a younger audience.  Like so many other pioneering bands, however, they were not able to have chart hits.  Their fourth album Wheatstraw Suite was their first to go in that more electric style and contained a cover of Paul McCartney’s acoustic guitar workout from Rubber Soul (Help in the U.K.).  The Charles River Valley Boys had originally recorded this in 1966 as part of their fine Beatle Country album.  Rodney still leads a version of the Dillards to this day.

12.The Rolling Stones – I Wanna Be Your Man

The story goes that before Mick and Keith became songwriters, they (or their producer) asked John and Paul if they had any material the Stones could record.  Lennon and McCartney went to their recording session and finished off this song which would become the Rolling Stones’ second 45 later in 1963 (peaking in the U.K. at #12).  Bill Wyman’s driving bass really makes the song jump while Brian Jones plays slide and sings background vocals (a rarity for the band).  Frankly the Stones rockin’ take is superior to the Ringo-sung Meet The Beatles album track (With The Beatles in the U.K.).

13.Byron Nemeth Group – I Am The Walrus

Equador born Nemeth fronts his own Cleveland based prog-rock inflected band whose music can be found on such albums as 100 Worlds and The Force Within (from which comes this loud guitar instrumental take on the psych classic).  The original album was released in 2007, but you should look for the greatly expanded 2018 version.

14.Geoff Richardson & Jim Leverton – I’m Looking Through You

It would be nice to play this country-rock version of the old Rubber Soul Paul-sung song, but apparently it isn’t on youtube – sorry.  These two have played together since 1995 in the Canterbury prog band Caravan (Richardson on violin/flute/etc. and Leverton on bass) plus they have released albums as a duo.  This cover comes from their 2000 album Poor Man’s Rich Man.  Leverton was also in the Noel Redding band after he was pushed out of the Jimi Hendrix Experience- Fat Mattress.

15.Mary McCaslin – Things We Said Today

This is a gently wistful acoustic take on the Something New album cut (in the U.K. – A Hard Day’s Night).    Her country-tinged voice lends an Appalachian old-timey feel to the song which originally was the opening track from her 1977 album Old Friends.  That this song lends it’s name to McCaslin’s ‘best-of’ album speaks to the regard folks have for her version.

16.Billy Preston – Eight Days A Week

As the only musician to share credit on a Beatles single (“Get Back”), Preston’s organ playing was a big part of the early Apple era (releasing records of his own including “That’s The Way God Planned It”).  As a sideman with Little Richard, the Beatles knew the 16 year old Preston as early as 1962.  In the vein of Booker T & The MG’s, Preston recorded some instrumental albums in the ’60s including Early Hits Of ’65 from which this comes.  In the U.S. the Beatles’ version was a #1 hit while it was only an album track in the U.K. (Beatles For Sale).

17.The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Yer Blues

Ringo has said that one of funnest tracks to record from the White Album was John’s “Yer Blues” as they did it live in a cramped closet.  Shepherd’s version amps up the growling guitars from the original on his How I Go album in 2011 (though the bass playing is way more pedestrian than Paul’s much nastier sound).  Vocals are by Noah Hunt.   Shepherd is a Shreveport native and along with Joe Bonamassa has been instrumental in keeping guitar based blues alive a la Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter.

18.Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – And Your Bird Can Sing

Between 2006 and 2013, power poppers Sweet and Hoffs (the Bangles) released three albums containing pretty faithful covers of various pop songs.  Each album was from a different decade with “And Your Bird Can Sing” from Under The Covers Vol. 1 – the one devoted to the ’60s.  The fact that the album even charted at all amazes me albeit the position was a lowly #192 (guitars and tuneful songs haven’t been the flavor of the charts in many years).  John’s composition (mostly) was one of my faves from the 1966 Capitol release Yesterday & Today (Revolver in the U.K.) and featured a nice dual guitar riff played by Paul and George.

19.Johnny Rivers – I’ll Be Back

John Ramistella under the name Rivers had a nice run of fine rock and roll singles that were mostly covers.  His last chart single was in 1978 and one could be excused for not following him since.  For those not aware, he has from ’98 on put out a fine if sporadic series of albums including Last Train to Memphis that year and Reinvention Highway from 2004.  Chris Hillman, Benmont Tench, Waddy Wachtel, etc. supplied the backing on such songs as “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better” (the Byrds) and “I’ll Be Back” which was on my fave Beatles album – Beatles ’65 (in the U.K. – A Hard Day’s Night).  While the Beatles did the song on acoustic guitars, Rivers’ take has ringing 12-string electric.

20.The Kentucky Headhunters – I’m Down

The Beatles replaced “Long Tall Sally” as their closing rocker with “I’m Down” in their final year of touring (1966) – a song only found as a single B-side in 1965 (“Help”).  Paul wrote the song in the style of Little Richard.  John moved from guitar to the Vox Continental organ on which he can be seen going ape during the Shea Stadium film of this song.  Since their 1989 debut album, the Kentucky Headhunters have been carrying the torch for Southern country-rock (they placed 12 songs on the U.S. country charts).  Their 2005 Big Boss Man was an album of covers including a nice version of Roger Miller’s “Chug-a-Lug” and a quartet of Hank Williams songs.  The Headhunters closed the album with this rockin’ version.

21.The Grip Weeds – The Inner Light

With a band named after a John Lennon character in the movie How I Won The War (Musketeer Gripweed), you can tell where their music is generally headed.  The fact that they named their 2015 album, from which this song comes, after that movie and that the cover image looks alot like Lennon in the movie is not a coincidence.  This is one of their best albums yet only confirmed power pop fans have a clue who they are.  The album closer is an excellent cover of the George Harrison single B-side (“Lady Madonna”) – his final of three Indian music themed songs.  “The Inner Light” only had vocals by John, Paul and George with instrumentation recorded in Bombay by Indian session players on non-rock instruments.  While the Grip Weeds version still retains that Eastern sound, it has a heavy guitar/bass/drum backbeat during the instrumental breaks that improves the song mightily.

22.Gerry Rafferty – Because

If you remember Rafferty it is because of his huge hit “Baker Street” or because he was a member of Stealers Wheel (“Stuck In The Middle With You”).  As an alcoholic who suffered from chronic depression, his career suffered which is a pity as he obviously still had a musical gift right up to the end in Jan. 2011 as this 2009 album shows (Life Goes On).  Rafferty’s version of John’s beautiful Abbey Road song is pretty faithful with gorgeous harmony vocals and gentle keyboard instrumentation.

23.World Party – Fixing A Hole

Ex-Waterboy Karl Wallenger formed World Party as essentially a solo project starting in 1986 and is best remember for “Ship Of Fools”.  “Fixing A Hole” comes from the 2012 five disc Arkeology compilation and is pretty faithful to the Paul McCartney original found on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

24.Peter Sellers – A Hard Day’s Night

Sellers had been a part of the Goons, a comedy act produced by George Martin pre-Beatles.  He and the Beatles became fast friends and as a tribute Sellers recorded several of their songs in spoken form.  “She Loves You” and “Help” were both done comedically, but “A Hard Day’s Night” was in the style of a Shakespearean performance with recorders quietly backing the reading.  George Martin was again behind the glass for this 1965 recording of the title track to the Beatles’ first movie.

25.Lana Lane – Across The Universe

For such a fine Lennon song, it never seemed like he came up with a great recorded version (Phil Spector came close on Let It Be).  This version that starts mellow then adds driving drums is pretty darn good at capturing the tune better (though the Lennon voice can’t be beat to these ears).  Lane has sung on two albums by one of my fave neo-prog bands Ayreon and is married to producer Erik Norlander who played keys for seven years with Asia.  Lane’s first album Love Is An Illusion was released in 1995 while her most recent one is El Dorado Hotel – 2012.  This cover version is found on her 1998 album Ballad Collection.

GO LONG! – My 20 Fave Songs Over 14 1/2 Minutes

Why 14 1/2 minutes you say?  Turns out the Jimi Hendrix track included is a few ticks shy of the original 15 minutes your blogger intended hence the missing 30 seconds.  Anyway, this felt at first like a topic that would be tough to fill up, yet as the list grew there were many worthy long songs that had to hit the cutting room floor.  What originally got this going was the thought that in this ’30 second clip’ era, a song has to grab you quickly or else you move on without downloading it.  That led to the idea of how many great songs could be overlooked if the sample is of the wrong section of the song for immediate gratification.  The preponderance of these songs is from the genre progressive-rock which generally lends itself more to lengthy tunes since they are less inclined to need a quick hook for maximum chart action and radio play.  In the days of underground radio, a song like this could be useful to a DJ for a bathroom break, a ‘funny-cigarette’ interlude or even a few moments with a Biologically accommodating fan.  Lest you get irate at the placement of certain songs or omission of your personal faves, please understand that this is not a list of the best long songs – these are my own faves.  Feel free to send a comment with your own faves, but understand that after #1 the order is fluid.  Sadly, you will likely not have the time to spend the hours needed to listen to each from beginning to end, but if you find even one song that piques your interest then this posting was worthwhile.  Grab yourself a beverage and some carbs and dig in!

1.Procol Harum – In Held Twas In I

Inclusion in the rock and roll hall of shame-(er)-fame should be open to acts that created and defined new genres of music – pushing boundaries.  For that reason, Procol Harum (a band that helped move psychedelia into prog-rock) should be enshrined – they are not.  This track was side two of the 2nd LP by Procol named after their excellent 1968 single “Shine On Brightly”.  The odd title comes from joining together the first word to each section of the 17 1/2 minute song.  The lyrics are by Keith Reid while the music is from pianist/singer Gary Brooker and organist/singer Matthew Fisher.  Robin Trower was the guitarist, David Knights the bassist and the late/great B.J. Wilson was on drums (practically defining what progressive drumming would become going forward).  The payoff for me is when the beautiful choral theme is suddenly rocked asunder by Trower’s nasty guitar lead over Fisher’s powerful Hammond chords 15 1/2 minutes in only to have the choir regain the theme later with Brooker’s piano runs.  The whole band brings things to a thundering conclusion –  Goosebump time.  Four years later a new lineup of the band revisited the song with strings on their excellent album Live With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

2.Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

This, the fifth Pink Floyd studio album (1972) featured this nearly 24 minute song on side one.  For many fans of the Floyd this is a controversial track due to the heavy orchestrations by Ron Geesin who earned a co-writing credit with the band.  A large stretch of the song’s first third has a wordless choir singing over Rick Wright’s organ chords till the middle of the song.  Later the music gets decidedly spacey a la the album that preceded this one – the excellent Ummagumma.   As the song is wordless, a title was reportedly difficult for the band till they saw an article in the paper about a woman getting a nuclear-powered pacemaker.  The ever dour and contentious band members David Gilmour and Roger Waters don’t seem to hold this work in much regard – something at odds with this reviewer’s opinion.  The Hipgnosis cover art didn’t feature the name of the album or the band.  Why the cow?  Could be a joke – who knows.

3.Rare Bird – Flight

Graham Field was a brilliant classical organ player featured in the two keyboard, bass and drum English band Rare Bird who put out a couple of excellent prog albums before Graham left to form Fields.  That he was the driving force is rather obvious when you listen to the band’s pedestrian albums after he flew the coop.  David Kaffinetti on electric piano was quite good as well and later was the spacey keyboard man in the movie This Is Spinal Tap.  From their first album, “Sympathy” was a worldwide hit (except in the U.S.), but it is their 2nd LP As Your Mind Flies By (1970) that features the side-long track “Flight”.  Bassist Steve Gould sang and could get overly dramatic at times while drummer Mark Ashton was on backing vocals.  Curiously, just as Procol Harum’s Shine On Brightly, the U.S. album covers where far better than the dull U.K covers.

4.Iron Butterfly – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Well here is one that may cause some consternation amongst my prog rock brethren, but so be it.  This was classically stoopid rock and roll that in 1968 was what this kid was listening to –  and it still sounds great.  Supposedly a tipsy Doug Ingle (keyboards/vocals) was writing a song with the lyrics “in the garden of Eden” but they came out slurred.  The rest of the band liked the confused lyric and thus a heavy and  dopey psychedelic gem was born.  The beginning and end were joined on single with the middle lopped off, but you really need to hear the whole 17 minutes to appreciate the greatness.  Most of the song is taken with with the band jamming on the main riff.  At about 6 1/2 minutes there is a phase-shifted drum solo and every kid in homeroom used to tap their desks with their pencils in tribute to Ron Bushy’s skins-work (no doubt driving teachers insane).  Curiously, Iron Butterfly never really came close to another song as great as this.  On the Atco label for those that care.

5.Pink Floyd – Echoes

The sixth Pink Floyd album, Meddle (1971), yielded this 23 1/2 minute masterpiece.  You could easily move this to #2 and “Atom Heart Mother” down to #5, but either way the Floyd created two of the greatest long songs in musical history.  This is a Halloween classic around our Parker abode – truly spooky sounding stuff especially 11 minutes in.  It is said that what first inspired the song was the heavily Leslied piano ‘ping’ created by Rick Wright that opens the track.  David Gilmour plays some screaming guitar leads that sound just as good in person (having seen them with my buddy Dan at DU just before the release of Dark Side Of The Moon – the album that ruined them for me).  They also do a great version on the Live At Pompeii video.  This song would have fit in well when Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets played the Paramount earlier this year, but they didn’t do it (amazing show – thanks Paul!).  Perhaps if they tour again…?  By the way, the Hipgnosis cover art again doesn’t feature the name of the band or the album and is a close-up of an underwater ear.

6.Focus – Eruption

If you ask the average U.S. record buyer the only song they know by Focus, they would say “Hocus Pocus” which is a pity as that silly novelty riff-rocker has nothing to do with the great prog instrumentals the true fans know them for.  Their 2nd album Moving Waves (1971) did indeed contain that dopey #9 hit (1973), but the rest of the album is excellent prog including this 23 minute track on side two.  Thijs Van Leer (flute/keyboards) and Jan Akkerman (guitar) were the creative soul of the band (Van Leer still fronts a version of this Dutch group).

7.Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick

To reiterate a point (if the morons who vote for the r & r hall are reading):  inclusion should be open to acts that created and defined new genres of music – pushing boundaries.  When you think of rock and roll bands that played literate music, put out classic album after classic album and made playing the flute cool you immediately think of Jethro Tull.  Perhaps the voters don’t like leader Ian Anderson’s superior attitude or perhaps they would just rather vote for the rap-artist flavor of the month to sell tickets – too bad.  Well they did induct The Moody Blues and Yes so perhaps there is hope.  This was the followup to Aqualung and was ostensibly Anderson’s spoof of the idea of a concept album and was a single nearly 44 minute song split between sides A & B.  The cover was a pastiche of a local newspaper and shows one Gerald Bostock who supposedly composed the poem this 1972 LP was based on (nonsense of course).  The album hit #1 on the U.S. charts.  John Evan contributes notable keyboard work that meshed well with guitarist Martin Barre and flautist Anderson.

8.Savoy Brown – Savoy Brown Boogie

Proving that not all cool long songs have to be progressive, this live medley filled the whole of side two on the 4th album of blues/rock by a band still on tour under the leadership of Kim Simmonds (though he really needs a better singer than himself).  In 1969 bands like Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, 10 Years After, Chicken Shack, etc. were introducing black blues to young white kids like my buddy Dan.  DC was kind enough to play this for yours truly (no doubt while we were drinking Bubble-Up and eating Yellow Zingers snack cakes) and got the young me hooked.    This song was a medley of goodies like “Feel So Good” and “Purple Haze” recorded live in London.  Guitarist Simmonds is the only constant in the band over the years with this version being perhaps the best.  The rest of the act were Chris Youlden (vocals), Bob Hall (piano), Roger Earl (drums), Lonesome Dave Peverett (guitar/vocals) and Tony Stevens (bass).  After two more albums, those last three split off to form Foghat.

9.The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Voodoo Chile

This nearly 15 minute track closes side two of the 3rd Hendrix album Electric Ladyland (1968).  It is basically an in-studio blues jam with Hendrix, drummer Mitch Mitchell, organist Steve Winwood of Traffic and bassist Jack Casady of the Jefferson Airplane.  Do not confuse this track with the heavier and more well-known “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” which closes that classic album.  This track doesn’t seem to be on youtube but then we all own the album anyway – right?

10.King Crimson – Lizard

At the tail end of 1970 a third King Crimson album (Lizard) appeared sans the excellent vocalist Greg Lake who was now in Emerson, Lake & Palmer.  Vocals were instead handled by Gordon Haskell with an assist on this track from Yes front-man Jon Anderson.  Side two was one 23 1/2 minute song broken into four parts.  For some reason, youtube doesn’t have the full song in one piece so here presented is the intro section.  Robert Fripp supplies guitar, mellotron and music while Pete Sinfield composed the lyrics.  The rest of the band was Andy McCulloch (who would play drums next in Fields with Graham Field), Mel Collins (sax/flute) and others including Keith Tippett on piano.  Truthfully due to the absence of Lake and the jazzier nature of some of the music, it isn’t as good as the first two Crimson albums.

11.Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant (Massacree)

1967 was known as the year of psychedelia and the summer of love.  1967 also saw the debut album from Woody Guthrie’s son Arlo.  The reason we bought the record at the time was due to this 18 1/2 minute live-in-front-of-studio-audience rap about getting arrested for illegally dumping trash and avoiding getting drafted into the Army.  The song was enough of a sensation that it was made into an Arthur Penn movie a couple of years later.  While Arlo is still going today, this continues to be his best-loved song.  The main folk-song riff is played over and over again on acoustic guitar with uncredited accompaniment.

12.Kraftwerk – Autobahn

In time for my birthday in 1974, this very mind-numbing track was the title centerpiece of the 4th Kraftwerk album (their first in the U.S.?).  The simple German lyrics along with the general feel are meant to evoke driving on the super-highway – the Autobahn.  The song has a gently catchy melody and an edit became an unexpected hit at #25 in the U.S. charts.  Engineer Conny Plank gave the electronic music a great headphone mix.  This album can be seen as the progenitor of synth-pop or even ambient music.

13.Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Tarkus

This is the song that nearly broke up the progressive rock super-group after only one album.  It is said that singer/bassist Lake didn’t like the music keyboardist Emerson was creating for their 2nd album and nearly left (the other member was drummer Carl Palmer).  After a reconciliation that saw Lake contribute some parts of the 20 1/2 minute song, the album was deemed a failure by some critics and a #1 U.K./#9 U.S. success on the charts.  Emerson’s Hammond organ dominates instrumentally.

14.Renaissance – Song Of Scheherazade

Song of Scheherazade is a 1947 movie while Rimsky-Korsakov composed a piece of music titled “Scheherazade”.  Supposedly this 24 1/2 minute masterwork has nothing to do with any of those, so let’s start over.  Scheherazade And Other Stories (1975) was the 6th and best album by the more acoustic prog band Renaissance that had been formed from the roots of the blues/rock band The Yardbirds.  The soul of that original band was singer Keith Relf and his sister Jane.  After Keith was electrocuted and Jane left to form Illusion, the mantle was passed to Annie Haslam and the late Michael Dunford (guitars).  The orchestrations by Tony Cox are glorious and are as much a part of the band as Haslam, Dunford, Jon Camp (bass), John Tout (keys) and Terence Sullivan (drums).  No cows or ears this time for Hipgnosis on creating the album cover.

15.Deep Purple – Concerto For Group & Orchestra

When fans think of Deep Purple they likely think of “Smoke On The Water”, “Perfect Strangers” or even “Hush”.  Certainly the band are known for their hard rock interplay between the late Jon Lord on organ and Ritchie Blackmore on guitar with the powerful tenor of Ian Gillan on top.  Oddly, however, the first album Gillan appeared as lead singer on for Purple was a live record made up of the mostly Lord composed “Concerto For Group & Orchestra” (song lyrics by Gillan).  The album was recorded with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold and juxtaposed the hard rock band  with the strings playing a classical style.  This, their 4th album, was also the first with bassist Roger Glover.  Drummer Ian Paice remained from the original band along with Lord and Blackmore.  As Blackmore wanted to play rock and roll, he was pleased when it didn’t chart here or in the U.K. – my friend DC was the one who played this for me originally.

16.Jethro Tull – A Passion Play

After the success of Thick As A Brick, Jethro Tull repeated the one-song-over-two-sides idea with their next album – 1973’s A Passion Play.  Yes it isn’t as catchy as the predecessor, but it is still good.  Critics hated it yet it again went to #1 in the charts.  These two albums are Tull’s most progressive.  The story seems to be about the death of one Ronnie Pilgram, his journey through Heaven and Hell and perhaps his rebirth.  The only part not solely composed by Ian Anderson is “The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles” (Anderson, Jeffrey Hammond, John Evan).   An edit managed a #80 placement on the U.S. singles chart.

17.Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Karn Evil 9

Brain Salad Surgery was the 1973 3rd album by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer charting at #2 in the U.K. and #11 in the U.S..  At just under a half an hour, “Karn Evil 9” is ELP’s longest song.  Emerson composed the music while Lake and former King Crimson lyricist Pete Sinfield contributed the words.  At 8:42 you hear the line that is most associated with the band, “welcome back, my friends to the show that never ends”.  The story may be about the decay of humanity and how computers take over (this before anyone even thought of PC’s and the like).

18.Genesis – Supper’s Ready

Once again I can thank my buddy DC for exposing the younger me to a great band, Genesis.  Foxtrot was the 1972 followup to the previous year’s superior Nursery Cryme that was Genesis’ first with drummer Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett.  Bassist Mike Rutherford, keyboardist Tony Banks and singer/flautist Peter Gabriel rounded out the band on this their 4th album.  While this 23 minute song is a group composition, Gabriel is generally given lyrical credit.  Many consider this to be the best song by the progressive version of Genesis (not so this reviewer).  Interestingly on “Los Endos” from A Trick Of The Tail (after Gabriel had departed), there are references to this song.  On the wonderful musical cruise undertaken by Mrs. RnRDentist and myself (On The Blue 2019), Steve Hackett’s band performed a fantastic version of this song (the only former Genesis member not to abandon us prog fans – thanks Steve!).

19.Yes –  Close To The Edge

The sound you hear is that of prog fans everywhere screaming at their computers that this should be #1 (as the 1972 LP of that name was voted by fans a few years back in a Prog Magazine poll).  Parts of this song are excellent and a case could be made that if one could lop off the first three minutes it would come in much higher (definitely if the last 10 minutes were a free standing song I would like it even better).  When Rick Wakeman’s church organ comes it just after the 12 minute mark – oh my, that is glorious – so okay maybe it deserves to be higher on the list.  Placement be darned, it at least made our top 20.  This song wass composed by singer Jon Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe.  Bassist Chris Squire and drummer Bill Bruford round out the band (this was Bruford’s swan song before joining King Crimson).  Anderson says the lyrics are inspired by Hermann Hesse’s book Siddhartha.  The album charted #3 in the U.S. and #4 in the U.K. also containing the song “And You And I”.

20.Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells

Hearing just a few seconds of a song can evoke a movie instantly.  If you were of a certain age in 1973, all you need to hear are the first snippets of this song and you picture Linda Blair floating above her bed with green pea-soup spewing from her lips in The Exorcist.  This was the debut album for multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield and was a worldwide phenomenon (especially in the U.K. were it was the 3rd biggest selling album for the entire decade of the ’70s).  The song was comprised of two separate pieces of music on each side of the vinyl album.  Side one is the part we remember from the movie and from an edit done by his U.S. record distributor (Atlantic) that reached #7 in our charts (though not approved by the artist).  This was the first release on Richard Branson’s Virgin label.

Forgotten Albums

Sitting next to albums by the Beatles and the Stones, your Rock N Roll Dentist has a crazy collection of music that most folks ignored or barely noticed when it was first released.  It has been heartening over the years that great neglected albums such as Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake – The Small Faces, Odessey and Oracle – The Zombies, #1 Record – Big Star, etc. have been rediscovered and given another chance to find an audience.  You can thank the digital age for much of that with CD reissues of seemingly everything ever recorded plus the internet to spread the musical word via youtube and blogs.  There are still a plethora of fine albums (some by major artists) that deserve to be noticed.  This post, in no particular order, is an attempt to expose my readers to some goodies from my collection (mainly in the late ’60s) that deserved more recognition.  I love progressive rock music but it won’t be part of this list.  The style of these albums is mostly guitar based pop music with a memorable tune so don’t expect any avant-garde jazz, etc.

1.The New Society – The Barock Sound Of…

Randy Sparks was the man behind the creation of successful ’60s folk act The New Christy Minstrels plus their ‘farm team’ The Back Porch Majority.  In 1966 he created this seven member act that included Del Ramos the younger brother of Larry Ramos of the Association – a group with which The New Society shared at least vocal lushness with.  With gorgeous arrangements by heavy hitters Lincoln Mayorca, Jack Nitzsche & Mort Garson plus great songs they deserved better.  Several of those songs such as “Of You” and “(I Prithee) Do Not Ask for Love” were tried out by the Monkees later that year, but were never given an LP release till the Missing Links compilations. The New Society’s sound may have been too clean to make it – sort of like an Anita Kerr Singers of rock plus RCA Victor never had much luck breaking acts  (witness The Astronauts or The Liverpool Five).  Interestingly, today you can download their music on major sites which means it is likely easier to buy their music today than it was in the late ’60s.

2.Gary Lewis – Listen!

Gary Lewis (with the Playboys) was a great singles artist, but his albums were pretty lame being fjlled with so-so covers of hits from the day.  This 1967 solo album was by far his strongest album filled with psychedelia (“Don’t Make Promises”, “Jill”), sunshine pop (“New Day”, “Small Talk”) and wall-of-sound production (“Happiness”).  The presence of arranger Jack Nitzsche was responsible for the great sound here  just as Snuff Garrett had been for Gary’s early hits.

3.Gary Wright – Extraction

Spooky Tooth (formed in 1967) was four Brits and one Yank (Gary Wright).  Their 1969 LP Spooky Two is worth looking for.  In 1970 Wright attempted a solo career with this A&M LP his first release.  The songs are all hard edged catchy rock with instruments supplied by Hugh McCracken (guitar), Klaus Voormann (bass) and Alan White (drums) along with Wright’s keyboards.  He didn’t find success till 1976 with “Dream Weaver”.

4.Fanny – Fanny Hill

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the Beatles’ engineer Geoff Emerick handling the sound and production by Richard Perry (Carly Simon, Nilsson), this album came out in early 1972 on Reprise.  As an all-female band, many viewed them as a novelty act but they could play, sing and wrote most of their own material so deserved more success than they saw.  This, their third album, had more edge to the sound than their first records and included a hard rockin’ slide-guitar version of Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar” which charted at #85.

5.Fat Mattress – Fat Mattress

This was Noel Redding’s band after leaving The Jimi Hendrix Experience (first formed as a side project while playing bass in that band).  The idea was to give Redding more chance to play guitar and sing than he had with Hendrix.  Needless to say, your young pre-Dentist was expecting more heavy guitar based rock and roll when he slit open this Atco LP in 1969.  Hearing mostly pastoral pop music, I can still recall my shocked disappointment by this album as mellow was definitely NOT a music style heard in my bedroom at that time (sorry mom and dad).  Used record stores didn’t exist back then and my buddy Dan Campbell wasn’t going to be tricked in to trading me something good for it so it sat idle in my collection for several months … but then something weird happened – playing it again I actually liked it.  The jazzy “Mr. Moonshine” is catchy, “How Can I Live” is a heartache in song and “Bright New Way” is a nice acoustic song sung by main vocalist Neil Landon.

6.Peter & Gordon – Hot, Cold & Custard

This last Peter & Gordon album from late 1967 had touches of psychedelia (backwards drums, odd orchestrations), but no chart hits which meant very little success.  Having heard the salacious “You’ve Had Better Times” on the radio (before it was sanitized on single), your’s truly wanted the album which turned out to be pretty good.  There were other goodies like “Greener Days”, “I Feel Like Going Out”, “The Quest For The Holy Grail” and “Cos You’re A Star”.   …And then there was no more band as Peter Asher was off to help out with the Beatles new label Apple.

7.Bobby Darin – If I Were A Carpenter

Bobby Darin isn’t given enough credit for the talent that he had.  If anything he is remembered as a Sinatra wanna-be on songs like “Mack The Knife” and “Beyond The Sea” or and early rocker with “Splish Splash”.  This 1966 Atco album was a huge change from his previous album of Broadway tunes which likely had something to do with it charting at only #142.   The songs were mostly low key folk including John Denver’s “For Baby” and Buffy St. Marie’s “Until It’s Time For You To Go”.  Of the eleven tracks, five were by Tim Hardin including the title track – a big hit for Darin.  “Reason To Believe” was arranged similarly to the hit while “Red Balloon” was more spare.  The album has unfairly been given short shrift in reviews which is a pity.  He died too young (of a heart ailment at age 37), but left some great music.

8.Chicken Shack – Accept

During the late ’60s there was an explosion of long-haired white blues bands mostly from England.  Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown, Ten Years After, etc.  Stan Webb led the group Chicken Shack which early on included Christine Perfect (who would marry John McVie and become a star after jumping ship to Fleetwood Mac seeing that band into a pop vein).  For this 1970 Chicken Shack album (their fourth), Webb branched out from the blues a bit.  “Tired Eyes” was a dreamy string-laden song that sounded like something from the early 1900’s while “Some Other Time” almost sounded baroque.  There is also good rock on the LP including “Diary Of Your Life” and “Telling Your Fortune” which hinted at the much harder direction of their next excellent album Imagination Lady which easily could be on this list too.

9.The Searchers – Take Me For What I’m Worth

Music styles changed so rapidly during the British Invasion ’60s that a group like The Searchers could chart eleven singles in ’64-’65 then fade rapidly.  The P.F. Sloan composed title track from this fine LP was their 12th hit though it only charted #76 in early ’66.  “Does She Really Care For Me” could be The Walker Brothers while “Each Time” has the distinct wall-of-sound like a Phil Spector hit (they even cover his “Be My Baby”).  “Too Many Miles” is folk while “Don’t You Know” has a Byrdsian country feel (all with great 12-string guitar).  The Searchers were always seen as a singles band anyway and with musical styles moving away from the U.K. Invasion this album didn’t stand a chance in the U.S.  You could easily include their two great Sire comeback albums (’79/’81) on this list as well.

10.Spring – Spring

Having read a glowing review of this United Artists album back in 1972 in Phonograph Record Magazine and knowing that Brian Wilson had produced it, the young me picked up a copy of it at his local Budget Tapes & Records.  The LP at it’s best definitely sounds like an early ’70s Beach Boys album with female lead vocals.  The artist is now listed as American Spring to avoid confusion with a U.K. band.  The Rovell sisters (Marilyn & Diane) originally were 2/3rds of The Honeys who in the early ’60s released non-charting Brian Wilson productions and sang backing on The Beach Boys single “Be True To Your School”.  Marilyn became Mrs. Brian Wilson and raised daughters Carney and Wendy while working on this album which flopped at the time, but is now sought after for the Brian Wilson connection.  Apparently Brian was in such bad shape that he couldn’t handle production for much of the record, but his sound is pretty apparent on tracks like “Forever” and “Good Time”.  The latter song was originally recorded for the Sunflower album (1970), but shelved at the time so Spring recorded their lead vocals over the original Beach Boys track and did some production additions.  The Beach Boys would later release the song on their 1977 LP Love You.

11.The Beau Brummels – Triangle

Target back in the early ’70s had a huge blow-out sale of old albums that were out of fashion – something like 59 cents each.  Oh that this starving Colorado University student would have had more money and musical knowledge to have picked up more than a handful of rarities for pennies.  Having remembered great singles like “Laugh Laugh” and “Just A Little”, this LP was purchased and plunked down on the old GE.  Whoa, gentle psychedelia, country and folk – not pop rock.  Warner Brothers in the late ’60s and early ’70s was at a creative peak thanks to folk like Lenny Waronker with great if non-commercially successful releases like this plus Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, etc.  There isn’t a bad song on this record.  Nine of the eleven tracks were originals including “Are You Happy” and “The Keeper Of Time”.  The covers were a folky take on Merle Travis’ “Nine Pound Hammer” and Randy Newman’s “Old Kentucky Home”.  At the time (July 1967) it could only manage a #197 placement on the charts, but has been acclaimed over the years as a masterpiece (though their follow-up Bradley’s Barn might be better remembered).

12.The Kinks – Something Else

It was hard to decide between this album or Arthur (Or the Decline And Fall Of The British Empire) as both are fantastic albums.  This one wins out as the bigger loser as it only hit #153 on the U.S. charts (plus none of the singles managed to chart here).   It may be unfair to include this as it has become an acclaimed album, but it is hard not to salute The Kinks as perhaps the most cruelly overlooked of the upper echelon of British Invasion bands.  Perhaps this album was too British for U.S. tastes which is the only explanation for a great song like “Waterloo Sunset” to never chart in the U.S.  There is not a weak cut on the whole record with excellent music like “Tin Soldier Man” and “Afternoon Tea”.  Ray Davies even let’s brother Dave get in to the act with fine songs “Death Of A Clown” and “Love Me Till the Sun Shines”.

13.The Music Explosion – Little Bit O’ Soul

The hot punky 1967 title track hit #2 (a cover of a U.K. single by The Little Darlings), but the equally fine album could only scrape in at #178 indicating that few kids heard nifty tracks like “Patches Dawn” and “Can’t Stop Now”.  Other Kasenetz-Katz productions like “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and “1, 2, 3, Red Light” would make ‘bubblegum’ a musical term, but this album was more garage rock in sound.  Lead singer Jamie Lyons may have been the only band member on the records.  Two songs were even recycled backing tracks including “Love Love Love Love Love” (Terry Knight & The Pack) and “One Potato Two” which with different lyrics was “Little Black Egg” by The Nightcrawlers.

14.The Everly Brothers – Two Yanks In England

Alan Clarke and Graham Nash have acknowledged how much the harmonies of The Everly Brothers inspired The Hollies sound so this album was a bit of debt repayment.  Eight of the twelve tracks were written by Clarke, Nash & Tony Hicks plus backing on most tracks was by The Hollies as well (along with session players like Jimmy Page).  Back in the summer of 1966 The Stones had “Paint It Black”, The Beatles had “Paperback Writer”, Donovan had “Sunshine Superman” so The Everly Brothers continued to be seen as a relic from the early days of rock.  Fine songs on the album include “Hard Hard Year”, “Somebody Help Me” and “Don’t Run & Hide”.  You could rightly call most of their ’60s album output to be neglected as virtually none of it charted (including the great Roots album from 1968).

15.The Hollies – Moving Finger

It seems only fair to follow up the last album with one by The Hollies themselves.  This was a re-titled and reorganized version of the 1970 U.K. album Confessions Of The Mind.  Sandwiched between the huge hits “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (1969) and “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” (1972), this album could only get as high as #183 without a U.S. hit single.  “Gasoline Alley Bred” and “Too Young To Be Married” were worthy of chart action while the Hicks written “Confessions Of A Mind” was a bit of an epic.  It should be noted that Terry Sylvester had replaced Graham Nash by this point.

16.Nilsson – Aerial Pandemonium Ballet

After Harry Nilsson had a touch of singles success, he went back in 1971 and picked some of the best tracks from his first two albums (which didn’t chart at the time) and redid vocals, edited and remixed.  The result was this record that only marginally charted at #149.  He was just a few months away from his biggest success with Nilsson Schmilsson  and “Without You”.  That success likely caused a few people (like me) to go back and pick up some of his early music and this was good place to start.  It contained songs he wrote that were done by others (“Daddy’s Song” – The Monkees, “One” – Three Dog Night, “1941 – Tom Northcott) plus his biggest chart hit to date “Everybody’s Talkin'”.

17.The Move – Shazam

The A&M label could generally be counted on to release great U.K. product back in the day (Procol Harum, Fairport Convention) so when this album showed up in 1970 I decided to take a flier on it.  This began my love affair with the music of Roy Wood who has never had the U.S. success that his music deserves.  From “Flowers In The Rain” to “Are You Ready To Rock”, he has never disappointed.  Cheap Trick deserve kudos for their great covers of his music (“California Man”, “Blackberry Way”), but you really need to hear the originals.  This album had only six tracks.  Side one was originals like the ballad “Beautiful Daughter” while side two is my favorite with covers of “Fields Of People” and “The Last Thing On My Mind”.  This was their last album with Carl Wayne as lead singer.  Wayne and his more theatrical voice left to be replaced by Jeff Lynne who would form Electric Light Orchestra with Wood (who then quit to form Wizzard).

18.Freddie & The Dreamers – Do The Freddie

Scoff all you want – heap your scorn, but this reviewer stands by the fact that this was a great album of British Invasion pop.  Freddie Garrity was goofy and sang a bit too earnestly for some, but the songs were all catchy and well-played by the cream of U.K. session musicians.  This was one of the first albums I ever got (from the Columbia Record Club) plus they headlined the first rock concert I ever attended (1965 in Denver with The Beau Brummels and The McCoys – thanks Mr. Steele for taking me and Rick!).  “Things I’d Like To Say”, “Over You”, “Just For You”, etc. were catchy album tracks.  The hit single “Do The Freddie” plus the excellent “A Little You” were highlights as well.

19.Mary Hopkin -Earth Song, Ocean Song

This was quite the departure from her 1968 hit “Those Were The Days” and her 1969 hit “Goodbye” which was more ‘produced’ in sound.  This 1971 album (her second on Apple) was a very gentle folk album with covers of Cat Stevens (“The Wind”), Ralph McTell (“Streets Of London”) and Gallagher & Lyle (“International”).  This was more the direction she wanted her career to go than the hits.

20.Family – Entertainment

It was tempting to put their classic debut Music In A Dolls House instead of this album just to play the brilliant “Peace Of Mind”, but that album does get a fair amount of acclaim while this their second album (1969) has been forgotten it seems (at least here in the U.S. where it never charted).  As opposed to the psychedelia of their debut, this was more straight-forward.  Rockers like “Second Generation Woman” stood beside gentler songs like “Dim” and “Observations From A Hill”.  Bassist Rich Grech left after this album to join Eric Clapton in Blind Faith which is a pity as he had a fine voice and compositional skills.  This track is sung by sax-man Jim King, but the main singer was Michael Chapman who has one of the oddest voices of any lead singer ever.  Listen to his style of their signature song “The Weaver’s Answer”.

Steppin’ Out With The Raiders & Paul Revere

Last month’s post reviewing all the Dave Clark 5’s LPs was such a blast that it seemed only fair to do the same with your blog-master’s other fave early teenage years group – Paul Revere & The Raiders.  To this day, I still love a musical act that puts on a show while playing their music.  While the Raiders didn’t have the laser lights of Genesis or Pink Floyd at their disposal in 1966, they did have revolutionary war costumes, choreographed dance steps and humorous mayhem on stage.  The second rock and roll concert I ever attended was this band at the Denver Coliseum around early 1967.  As opposed to my first (Freddie & The Dreamers), I recall this one as being essentially in a big echo chamber which made the concert experience less than musical, but at least it was fun to see them (along with a cavalcade of local bands).  Here is the old program:

From June 1965 till it was cancelled in March 1967 the Dick Clark created TV show Where The Action Is gave us kids a musical reason to race home from school to watch regulars like Steve Alaimo, Tina Mason, Keith Allison and Revere’s Raiders host.

There were also musical guests like The Turtles, Donovan, The Supremes, etc.  When that show folded, Revere and lead singer Mark Lindsay hosted a new Clark venture Happening ’68 on Saturday after American Bandstand plus It’s Happening during the week (1968-69).  Certainly that exposure went a long way towards making the Raiders stars, but they had the musical chops and the songs to make them America’s answer to U.K. bands like The Kinks and The Animals.  Whether it is some feeling of American inferiority or the costumes and comedy that have worked against their induction in to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, they certainly deserve to be enshrined strictly on their musical merit.  (But then as of this writing Jethro Tull, Neil Sedaka, Pat Benatar, The Doobie Brothers, Nilsson, The Go-Gos, et al are also not in – a hall of fame’s worth of snubs.)  The DC5 and The Raiders shared some similarities.  They were a five piece band with a sax player, guitarist, bassist, drummer and a keys man playing standing up behind a Vox Continental.  They also were good looking photogenic guys in sharp threads.  Their singles were catchy rockers that the band may or may not have played on.  Both bands took some time to settle on their classic line-ups, but unlike the DC5 whose membership during the hit years was stable, Revere’s band saw some major upheavals during their recording career.

Back in 1958, former barber and then Caldwell, Idaho restaurateur Paul Dick (age 20) decided to put a band together with him playing piano.  The story goes that a shy gawky nearly legally blind teenager took off his glasses at one of Revere’s shows and jumped on stage to sing a song then disappeared.  When Revere went to a bakery to pick up the buns for his restaurant he reconnected with that kid who worked there (with his glasses on) Mark Lindsay and an 18 year partnership was born.

The Downbeats played mostly rockin’ instrumentals with Lindsay on wailing sax.  Dick was always a hustler and got a demo to a small record label in California – Gardena Records.  On signing the contract, owner John Guss saw that Dick’s middle name was Revere and suggested naming the band after Paul Revere (either Night Riders or Raiders were debated).  The first Gardena single was a boogie woogie version of “Chopsticks” – “Beatnick Sticks”.  Eight singles were released with the third one (“Like Long Hair” – a boogie piano take-off on Rachmaninoff) making the U.S. charts at #38 in 1961.  The band used Leon Russell on piano for tours while Revere served his military obligation as a cook in an Oregon mental institution (due to his conscientious objector status).  Later, Lindsay relocated to Oregon and he and Revere put a new version of the band together with club owner and guitarist Mike “Smitty” Smith shifting to drums.  The rowdy Paul Revere & The Raiders played a style of music that became known later as frat rock since the bands all played amped up music for boozy fraternity parties and the like.  These bands mostly played the same covers including the song “Louie Louie” written and recorded by Richard Berry.   Within days of each other, two Northwest bands recorded that song in the same studio, but only one (The Kingsmen) had the hit with it.  Revere’s Raiders were given $50 by their new manager KISN DJ Roger Hart to record the song and formed the Sande label to release it.  During this time, as a gag Revere rented Colonial costumes for the band including jackets and tri-corner hats.  Crowds loved it and this became their trademark along with on-stage craziness and dance steps between the bassist and guitarist.  This all attracted the attention of the rock and roll shy Columbia Records label who signed the band as they sounded black but were white kids (Lindsay possessed one of the greatest rock and roll voices of that era).  A few months after the recording of “Louie Louie”, a new guitarist came on board – Drake Levinshefski.  The stage-named Drake “The Kid” Levin (since he was 16 at the time) inspired a young Seattle black kid during a show at the Spanish Castle Ballroom who complimented him that night.  Jimi Hendrix was impressed with Drake’s showmanship including playing on his knees and holding his guitar behind his back to play.  After recording their initial sessions for Columbia, bassist Mike “Doc” Holliday was replaced by a University of Colorado student – Phil “Fang” Volk and the classic line-up was cemented.

During their heyday they were a singles juggernaut, but what about their forgotten albums?  If you let me, I plan to recall an album track from each of their 12 inch pieces of vinyl.

1.Like Long Hair (1961)

To capitalize on the success of “Like Long Hair” nationally, Gardena Records released the only long player ever on the label – a rare piece of vinyl today (though you can stream the songs much cheaper).  The LP was made up of singles sides plus a few songs that Revere cut with the band on his off days serving as a mental institution cook.  Production was handled by Gary Paxton of the Hollywood Argyles (“Alley Oop”).  The album didn’t chart and if you are looking for The Raiders of the later ’60s, forget it soundwise.  This is, however, a pretty good album of rockin’ instrumentals.  The Revere/Lindsay original “Groovey” shows what an outstanding sax man “Mad Man Marcus” was.

2.Paul Revere & The Raiders (1963) also In The Beginning (1966)

When the band reconvened they recorded a cover of “Louie Louie” (inspired by The Wailers) plus an album of instrumentals and frat rock covers.  Songs like “Work With Me Annie” and a pretty good version of Ray Sharpe’s “Linda Lu” were released on the Sande label (which I think manager Roger Hart created for them – but don’t quote me).  Note that when The Raiders became successful, Jerden Records re-released this album as In The Beginning and the album track “So Fine” was sent out for potential chart action.  I recall hearing it a few times on Denver radio back in ’66 and wondering why it didn’t sound anything like “Just Like Me” or “Kicks”.  It tanked.

3.Here They Come! (July 1965)

Columbia Records picked up Paul Revere’s band and re-issued “Louie Louie” to no success, but didn’t give up on them releasing three more non-hits on 45.  In Sept. 1964 to capture their live excitement, Columbia paired the band with Bruce Johnston (The Rip Chords) as producer in a faux concert setting on a soundstage.  In front of an invited crowd, The Raiders played their stage show which was still rockin’ instrumentals and frat rock covers such as “Big Boy Pete” and “Money (That’s What I Want)”.  For me the stand-out track was a really hot version of “You Can’t Sit Down” with each guy in the band getting to shine.  The rhythm section of Smitty and Doc Holliday were like a driving machine and Lindsay’s sax is simply en fuego.  Keep in mind that at this time, British Invasion acts like The Beatles and Peter & Gordon had pretty much swept the charts of music like this, however.  Parts of that session ended up ten months later as the top side of their first Columbia long player while studio guys backing Lindsay in the spring of 1965 recorded so-so songs that made up the flip of the album (“Fever”, “Sometimes”, etc.).  Those sessions were produced by Terry Melcher (The Rip Chords) who would become like a sixth Raider for many years (his voice blended well with Mark’s).  When it came out, the back liner notes were fairly simple and listed the bassist as Mike “Doc” Holliday.  After their success on Where The Action Is, a newer version was released with longer Dick Clark liner notes listing Phil “Fang” Volk on bass (who by then had taken over from Holliday).  As a kid, it was that version I bought (after getting their next release first) and I was extremely confused by the cover picture who showed a guy holding the bass that definitely wasn’t Fang.  The album charted at #71.  By far the best way to get this music now is on the two CD Sundazed album Mojo Workout! which includes all the songs from the live set, soundcheck tracks plus studio tracks and alternate versions.

4.Just Like Us! (Jan. 1966)

Well this is where it all began for most of us kids with these guys after hearing the great singles “Steppin’ Out” and “Just Like Me”.  We bought enough for it to go gold and hit #5 early in ’66.  This was one of three albums that mom and dad let me pick out from the Columbia Record Club and I played it to death on their old KLH stereo.  Aside from the Animals/Kinks-like hits, the rest of the album was not unlike their old stuff being covers and even including an ancient instrumental version of “Night Train” in mono from the flip of “Louie Louie”.  They looked great on the jacket in their Colonial suits and played the heck out of their instruments (it has been reported that Revere didn’t like to record and “Steppin’ Out” was one of his last appearances playing keys).  Each guy got to sing and they all did pretty well including Revere on the old U.S. Bonds single “New Orleans”.  Smitty gets the humorous one with a silly version of “I Know” that was pretty endearing.  There is also a short band vocal version of “Action” from their TV show (Freddy Cannon had the hit version the summer before).  It would be unfair to say any of the band members could sing anywhere nearly as well as Lindsay, however, who did have one of the greatest voices of rock and roll.  Production was by Terry Melcher again.

5.Midnight Ride (May 1966)

This album came out to capitalize on their monster hit “Kicks”, an anti-drug song by “Mann and Weil who had offered it to The Animals as well.  Since I owned the 45, there didn’t seem to be any reason to get the album plus the cover was pretty non-descript.  The flip of the single would have made this a better record – a jammy harpsichord remake of their old Gardena single “Shake It Up”.  The album was okay, but had too much junk like “Little Girl In The 4th Row” and “Melody For An Unknown Girl” for my taste.  Nine of the eleven were originals – six by Paul and Mark (Smitty and Fang again got to sing as well).  Aside from “Kicks” the only other cover was the first waxing of “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” which would give The Monkees a hit six months later.  “Louie, Go Home” was a reworking of their single follow-up to “Louie Louie” that had tanked.  This Melcher production also went gold and charted at #9.

6.Spirit Of ’67 (Nov. 1966)

Around this era is when I saw the band with a new guitarist – Jim “Harpo” Valley late of the fine northwest band Don & The Goodtimes.   Valley’s picture was on the eye-catching cover, but Levin still supplied the guitar parts on record (he was serving in the National Guard and couldn’t tour).  Outside players augmented the band for sessions with Hal Blaine drumming on the big hit from the album “Hungry” which is perhaps the toughest song they ever recorded (another Mann and Weil cover).  With two other hits (“Good Thing” and “The Great Airplane Strike”) I decided to buy it rather than the singles and was rewarded with a pretty decent record.  This, however, was the last album I bought for many years as musical tastes were changing drastically.  They wrote all but “Hungry” with Melcher getting involved with that end of things for the first time.  The album track Louise” was good enough that it deserved to be a single and had a driving bass riff (Volk or session player?) and fine Melcher harmonies.  Fang wrote and sang “In My Community” and “Why Why Why (Is It So Hard)” while Smitty did the duty on “Our Candidate” – all worthy though not sounding like the hit Raiders.  This album also went as high as #9 in the charts and was given a gold disc.

7.Greatest Hits (May 1967)

By this point The Raiders were a band in turmoil though the cover showed the same band as was on the previous LP (though mostly with hands carefully placed to cover bulges in overly tight tights).  Valley left angry that he didn’t have a song on Spirit Of ’67.  Levin came back briefly but was rebuffed by Revere from appearing on their only Ed Sullivan Show appearance April 30, 1967 (he had hired Freddy Weller instead).  Volk and Smith had quit and knew that Sullivan’s TV show was their swansong with the band (they formed Brotherhood with Levin who released a couple of okay albums on RCA).  This hits album went back to “Louie Louie” and included a non-LP single in “Ups & Downs” plus a biographical song titled “Legend Of Paul Revere”.  This album was their third in a row to hit #9 and go gold.  Columbia charged a higher price for this record, but did include a booklet.

8.Revolution! (Aug. 1967)

A new trio of Raiders was resplendent in white uniforms with black trim and tight tights (this time mostly the bulges are hidden).  Keeping in mind that Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band had changed the game two months early, this album had little to do with what was going on musically then but I liked it alot.  This was the best album Paul Revere & The Raiders (now featuring Mark Lindsay in print on the cover) ever released.  The songs were all composed by Melcher and Lindsay and are all memorable plus the production is great as ever.  Session players abound with Ry Cooder supplying some swampy slide guitar.  The singles “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” and “I Had A Dream” were great if totally different animals.  The former is a classic guitar pop rocker with pounding drums on the chorus while the latter is a lazy organ driven production with a nice guitar riff over it.  “Mo’reen” and “Gone – Movin’ On” are fine pop songs while “Tighter” had a psychedelic production touch and was the hit that never was (Lindsay tried to make it a hit under the band-name The Unknowns on Parrot with no chart success).  Revere got a rare vocal on the humorous “Ain’t Nobody Who Can Do It Like Leslie Can”, but new guys Freddy Weller (guitar), Charlie Coe (bass) and Joe Correro, Jr (drums) were content to let Lindsay sing the rest.  The album closer “I Hear A Voice” was a very pretty piano driven ballad with celeste.  The chart action was slipping as they only hit #25.  I admit that I didn’t buy this till college when I found it as a cut-out.

9.A Christmas Past…And Present (Nov. 1967)

Pretty much Terry Melcher’s swansong with the band, this Christmas album wasn’t one of my faves frankly.  It tried to be a message album, but didn’t deliver musically.  The song about the post office (“Rain, Sleet, Snow”) was really the only song I liked.  The driving drum and cellos accompany a distorted Lindsay vocal.  I guess “Wear A Smile At Christmas” is decent, but if you can make it through the whole album you are doing better than me.  It charted at #10 on the Christmas charts that year.

10.Goin’ To Memphis (Feb. 1968)

In all but name, this is a Mark Lindsay solo album.  As a white man with a black man’s voice, it was decided to have Lindsay record with the funky studio band in Chips Moman’s American Sound Studio (plus he produced) and do mostly soul covers.  Songs like “Boogaloo Down Broadway” and “Soul Man” are not bad but do you need these versions?  The best of the lot were “I Don’t Want Nobody (To Lead Me On)” and the Lindsay original “I’m A Loser Too”.  The final Melcher holdover is the heavy single “Peace Of Mind” which is the best thing here though the use of wailing soul sisters on the chorus was pretty un-Raiders-like.  The cover drawing was from a never finished Hanna-Barbera Studios cartoon show idea.  The chart action saw a #61 placement.

11.Something Happening (Sept. 1968)

Lindsay was now the producer and songwriter.  He wasn’t up to a full album at this time I seemed, but there were a few nice pop songs including “Happens Every Day”.  That being said, the old Raiders sound is gone – this is pure pop.  The singles are “Don’t Take It So Hard” (bright guitar pop with an acoustic interlude) and “Too Much Talk” (very heavy fuzz guitar) and could only get the album a #122 chart placement. The version of the latter on the LP, however, inserts a wimpy middle section best forgotten.  There are attempts at psychedelia (“Free” and “Burn Like A Candle”).  Gone are the old costumes to be replaced by a casual look.

12.Hard ‘N’ Heavy (With Marshmellow) (March 1969)

This is the best post-Melcher Raiders album thanks to some good songs like “Ride On My Shoulder” which recalls the bubblegum pop of “Dizzy”.  The title of the album says it all really – sweet hard-edged pop (i.e. “Time After Time”).  They could have left off the attempts at humor between many of the tracks, but I guess it fits with their history.  There is a new member with old Where The Action Is pal Keith Allison taking over the bass from Coe making this a very southern band.  The #18 single “Mr Sun, Mr. Moon” is one of your bloggers’ guilty pleasures being very bright, poppy and very different than the heavy bands of the day.  The take of “Cinderella Sunshine” on the LP is a lighter version than the better and heavier single.  “Trishalana” is a gorgeous ballad with organ and an odd staccato plucked sound on the chorus.  The chart action was a least better than last time with a #51 placement in the U.S.

13.Alias Pink Puzz (Aug. 1969)

On the singles chart the song “Let Me” had managed to hit #20 and had first been released as by Pink Puzz since the band thought their name now carried a stigma of being uncool.  Frankly they were correct as they were still a singles band that were best at pop and needed to embrace it.  The song “Thank You” was a nice pop confection whose hook was a pounding drum on the catchy chorus. Six of the eleven songs were by producer Lindsay while the rest shared a co-credit with Keith Allison.  “Frankfort Side Street” is also catchy pop while the album closer “Freeborn Man” has become a country standard recorded by players like Glen Campbell and Jimmy Martin.  The album got to #48 on the charts.

14.Collage (April 1970)

Well, this is the most drastic attempt Lindsay made to toughen up the sound of Paul Revere’s band now known as simply The Raiders (maybe logical since his keyboards are nowhere to be heard).  The mix on this album is incredibly bass heavy with the bass drum being so deep and strong in the mix as to sound distorted.  Laura Nyro’s “Save The Country” and the Lindsay/Allison original “Think Twice” are my fave album tracks.   The single version of “We Gotta All Get Together” is a better mix frankly (and is shorter) while “Just Seventeen” with all the horns sounds very unlike the Raiders (and only got to #82 on the Hot 100).  Oddly Lindsay opted to remake two of his old Melcher co-writes in “Tighter” and “Gone Movin’ On” making them either faux southern rock (the former) or unfocused heaviness (the latter).  At this point Lindsay was having some success as a solo singer in a more adult vein.  A #154 chart placement showed how far they had fallen from favor in 1970 when The Beatles wanted us to “Let It Be”.

15.Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (1971)

Paul Revere & The Raiders were a spent outfit at this point with lead singer Mark Lindsay now a solo artist with hits like “Silver Bird” and “Arizona” so Columbia decided to try to milk some more cash out of the last batch of singles.  That didn’t work out so well as this LP only hit a dismal #209 on the charts.  I found this album in the cut-out bins back in the day and did enjoy the alternate mix of “Do Unto Others” which was the flip of “Peace Of Mind” and had charted here in Colorado.  This mix ended with a percussion solo track as the rest of the song had already faded out.  This stereo version isn’t on CD to the best of my knowledge.  They were still billed as simply The Raiders.

16.Indian Reservation (June 1971)

This song had been a smaller hit for Don Fardon in 1968 and was to be a solo Mark Lindsay track.  Instead the folks at Columbia suggested that this might be a great time to revive The Raiders name especially since there was a prominent organ part in the mix (played by Artie Butler – the same guy who played the same part on Janis Ian’s “Society’s Child”).  The single version of the old John D. Loudermilk song got to #1 so an album was needed.  By now Joe, Jr. had left so Mike Smith returned on drums (though Hal Blaine played on the single).  The other hit from the album was the Joe South tune “Birds Of A Feather” which helped make the album a #19 success.  There were okay cover songs such as the Wild In The Streets tune “The Shape Of Things To Come” and the old Easybeats track “Come In, You’ll Get Pneumonia”.  “Prince Of Peace” was a fair pop song while “The Turkey” (the only Lindsay composition) was a weird attempt at humor, I guess.  Melcher had a solo composition in “Take Me Home”.

17.Country Wine (March 1972)

This was the last Mark Lindsay produced and sung Raiders album and featured a couple of decent singles.  Back in the day I bought the excellent title track on 45 which got to only #51 on the charts.  The other charter was the Lindsay composition “Powder Blue Mercedes Queen” which was a heavy track sharing a guitar sound with bands like Mountain.  That #54 single couldn’t make the album get any higher than #209 for only two weeks.  “Ballad Of The Unloved” was an okay album track along with the Allison/Lindsay track “Golden Girls Sometimes”.  Lindsay helmed two more minor non-LP chart singles in “Song Seller” and “Love Music” then gave up.  He did appear as singer on the 1983 Era album The Great Raider Reunion which was re-recordings of their old hits.  Mark has gone on record saying that he was the only Raider on that album (the band pictured on the cover besides Lindsay were the group that Revere lead back then – Ron Foos, Doug Heath, etc.).

18.Special Edition (1982)

Well this version of the band wasn’t the version we want to remember, I fear.  Revere had a whole new cast that sounded nothing like the old band.  The only reason to see these guys was if you were desperate to hear the old songs played along with second-rate covers like “We’re An American Band”.  They self-released this new-wavy album with one side devoted to awful re-recordings of their old music (“Louie Louie” is especially horrible) and the other to band originals.  This track “Do You Really Mind” was the best of the lot and sounded like the current pop music of the day at least.

19.Rides Again (1983)

See #18 – obviously not this reviewer’s cup of tea.  LP was on the Hitbound Records label and had eight non-Revere oldies (“Rock Around The Clock” and “You Really Got Me”) and another version of “Louie Louie”.

20.Ride To The Wall (2001)

I am going to include this for completeness sake since I really don’t consider this Rhino album to be any more than Paul Revere & The Raiders in name only.  Till Revere passed away, he lead a version of this band that had little to do with the old days other than the costumes and the cover songs they played.  He interspersed music at his shows with comedy along the lines of Rip Taylor (look him up if you care).  This album featured this title track tribute to the folks who went to Vietnam and never returned – a very noble cause to be sure.  You would be forgiven, however,if you didn’t recognize any resemblance to the sound of the Raiders on this record even though it does include a cover of “Hungry”.  Mike Smith left us at only age 58 in 2001.  Drake Levin passed at age 62 on the 4th of July in 2009.  Revere was 76 when he went to rock and roll heaven in 2014.  Phil Volk was for years leading a band known as Fangs Gang and has remained married to Action album Tina Mason.  Mark has off and on performed including a fine show several years back in Golden, CO at which I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet him after a truly rockin’ performance.  Thanks for the rock and roll, guys!


The Dave Clark Five – Over And Over Again


Great blog topics just don’t fall out of the sky and so it was with great relief that your writer received an e-missive from his ole rock and roll drumming buddy Mr. D from DC suggesting a tribute to that great British Invasion ’60s group the Dave Clark 5 (named after their drummer).  Excellent idea, sez I, as it brought up some nice old memories.  It was sixth grade and seemingly everybody at Kohl School was under the spell of a new musical group – the Beatles.  People were bringing their records and their memorabilia the class – even teachers would put on Beatle wigs and act goofy.  Frankly rock and roll hadn’t invaded our Broomfield house and you only heard classical, ragtime and easy listening on our radio.

As 1964 became 1965, however, something strange happened to your future rockin’ Dentist when mom and dad joined the Columbia Record Club and allowed the addition of a few rock and roll records to the haul of ten for a penny or whatever the come-on offer was.   I had recently heard a band on KIMN that seemed to leap out of my new transistor radio with a much tougher sound than any other current group – the Dave Clark 5.  It happened that one of the options on the club list was the LP Having A Wild Weekend and so, along with new waxings by Freddie & the Dreamers and Paul Revere & the Raiders, they soon hit our mailbox.  Whenever mom and dad’s showtunes and organ music weren’t on the old KLH, my three long players were in maximum rotation and to this day are some of my faves.  Over time and via additional vinyl, the DC 5 and the Raiders became my bands of choice (the Beatles came much later).  Do kids still do that – argue with their friends over which band is better and bring to question their friends’ apparently horrible taste in music?  Music talk was THE primo topic.   Heck, to this day if I had a chance to talk to Tom Hanks, it wouldn’t be about acting but rather about music since he had the rare priviledge  of inducting the DC 5 in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2008 (gimme a call Tom if you wanna talk about them or That Thing You Do).  As you grow up, however, things change and seemingly overnight bands like the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream displaced those older groups for turntable play.  It wasn’t till years later that an itch to get back to the old fave rockers caused your Dentist to buy all the DC 5 and Raiders records that had been previously unfairly passed over.

For the purpose of this posting, it was a great excuse to re-listen to every Dave Clark LP and review them which is what this blog will do.  Except for the Stones and the Beatles who get the occasional album track, oldies radio will only play the hits and generally then only a few by each group.  When we review an LP, then, it seems like a fun idea to include a video for one of the best album tracks you likely never heard on the radio then or now.  Billboard Magazine in the U.S. showed 24 top 100 chart hits from early 1964 till late 1967 by Mr. Clark’s band; all but one on the Epic label  – 14 hits were top 20 of which 8 made the top 10 and one (“Over & Over”) made it to #1.  It is reported that Clark started his combo in 1957 with no previous drumming experience and by 1962 the membership of the band had settled on the classic recording line-up.  When you compare the music of the Dave Clark 5 to that of the other British Invasion bands to hit the U.S. in 1964, you see how unique they were as none of the others had sax appeal – find another that had a nasty soprano sax (as played by Denis Payton).  Clark beat the skins, Lenny Davidson played guitar, Rick Huxley was on bass, Payton played sax/guitar/harmonica and Mike Smith towered over the Vox Continental organ while singing lead.  Smith was one of the best singers in rock and roll history and gets unfairly overlooked (in fact many assumed that Clark was the lead singer).

What made the DC 5 so great was that they flat out rocked.  While it is oversimplifying, if when they rocked the Stones wanted to be Chuck Berry, the Beatles Buddy Holly, then the Dave Clark 5 were Little Richard with piano, honkin’ sax and crazed vocals.  Even better was that the engineer didn’t mind pushing the VU meters in to the red and distorting the sound which made the records red hot.  Producers and engineers weren’t listed alot of the time on records in the ’60s, but the back of the 5’s albums listed Adrian Clark as producer.  That was a mix of Dave Clark and Adrian Kerridge who Clark credits with brilliantly putting the live Tottenham Sound of the DC 5 into the mostly monaural grooves.  They didn’t screw around too long on album and today three of them would fit on an 80 minute CD with room to spare. Thick echo, bass that rattled the speakers and in-your-face percussion, but played by whom?  That became a controversy just as it did with the Monkees, but frankly who really cares as long as the records sounded good.  Today bands are proud of who guests on their albums, but for some reason back then it was supposed to be a secret that the same studio guys played for the Beach Boys or Gary Lewis, Herb Alpert or Paul Revere.  We know that the great U.K. studio drummer Bobby Graham played on songs like the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and Them’s “Gloria” and frankly if you compare his drum sound there with tracks like “Glad All Over” it proves his assertion that he drummed on a large portion of the DC 5’s hits.  If you listen to many of the album tracks, the drumming is not as heavy on the non-hits which makes you wonder if Clark played on all the songs then beefed up the sound with Graham’s overdubs for the hits.  Some of their best album cuts were instrumentals and it would stand to reason that the band would have played on those.  They appeared on Ed Sullivan 18 times, but mostly lip-synched (later appearances did have live vocals).   Another controversy is that Clark’s name is listed as a co-writer on all their group originals yet some have alleged that he didn’t actually write them all.  Again who knows, but what we do know is that he has doled out reissues of their music sparingly which is too bad as their time has mostly passed and it would have been nice to buy all their albums on legit CD or buy a boxset with rarities.  Sadly, the only members alive at this time are guitarist Davidson and Clark.  I was lucky enough to meet the fine gentleman Mike Smith here in Denver after a concert at Fiddlers Green with his Rock Engine band then sadly he went back to the U.K. and fell trying to climb over his fence in 2003.  He was paralyzed from then till his passing in 2008 just 11 days before being inducted in the rock hall.  Denis Payton died of cancer in late 2006 while Rick Huxley succumbed to emphysema in Feb. 2013.  Let’s look at the LPs.

1.Glad All Over (March 1964)

With “Do You Love Me” plus the Smith/Clark originals “Bits & Pieces” plus the title track, you had a pretty solid debut U.S. album that hit #3 on the charts.  There were some rockin’ LP tracks as well including the “Tequila” sounding instrumental “Chaquita” and the nasty rocker by Clark and Davidson “I Know You”.

2.Return! (June 1964)

Out of ten songs, four are covers including this cool Link Wray instrumental showing the tough side of the guys, but without the trademark popping drums so you wonder if this was the band without outside help.  With the Clark/Smith hit “Can’t You See That She’s Mine” it did chart at #5, but wasn’t as strong as their debut platter.

3.American Tour (Aug. 1964)

The #3 ballad “Because” was the lead single written by Clark and pushed the LP to #11.  At the time, my fave track here was “Come On Over” written by Clark and Davidson which had the classic galloping drum sound.  The rest of the band was writing more and so for the first time there were no covers with an equal mix of Clark/Smith, Clark/Payton and Clark/Davidson songs.  The sound was drier and there were too many ballads for this young rocker back in the day (but I liked the cover).

4.Coast To Coast (Dec. 1964)

Holy cow, this was their fourth album in 1964.  This classic sounding drum stomper was the only song written by Clark/Smith on the LP.  The hits were Clark’s “Any Way You Want It” and the Clark/Davidson song “Everybody Knows (I Still Love You)” which helped the LP to #6 in Billboard. Four of the songs were ballads which always meant ‘track-to-skip’ to the young Dentist.

5.Weekend In London (March 1965)

This is one of the LPs that the young me skipped back in the day as the only minor hit on it was the Clark/Smith ballad “Come Home”.  After buying it, there were some redeeming rockers including “We’ll Be Running” with someone other than Smith singing the solo bits (since Payton wrote it, you have to wonder if he sang).  The other great track was also a Clark/Payton original – “I’m Thinking”.  All in all, however it wasn’t one of their best and only hit #24 on the charts.

6.Having A Wild Weekend (July 1965)

Oh man, this is where it all started for your young Dentist and is still my second favorite album from the 5.  The title track (the U.S. title of the movie this was from) by Clark/Smith is my all-time favorite song by the guys and flat out rocks in a very ’50s vein.  There are some outstanding instrumentals as well -the Clark/Davidson penned “No Stopping” plus Clark and Payton’s “On The Move” and the Duane Eddy styled “Dum Dee Dee Dum”.  The hit off the record was one of their best – “Catch Us If You Can” whose finger snapping hook propelled the LP to #15.  That was also the title of the British title of the movie this was the soundtrack for (though at least on the U.S. LP only 4 of the 12 tracks were in the movie).  The movie was not a lighthearted romp, but one in which the band played roles with Clark being a stuntman which was a job he had worked at previously.  This was the first film directed by John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur, Zardoz, etc.).

7.I Like It Like That (Nov. 1965)

The band looked great on the cover of this LP in shirts with starched white collars and black coats plus you can see what instruments they each played including Smith’s distinctive Vox Continental organ.  The lead track was a hot cover of the old Chris Kenner song and at 1 minute 38 seconds left you wanting more.  That pushed the LP to #32 in the charts which is probably better than it deserved musically save for a few good rockers like “Pumping”, an instrumental credited to Clark/Payton. “I Need Love” by Clark and Smith was a good rocker as well, but most of the rest were not so great ballads – very disappointing to your’s truly back in the day.

8.The Dave Clark Five’s Greatest Hits (Feb. 1966)

Ten tracks of nothing but hits and thus it was manna from above for the cash starved young me.  This and their first album are the only long players they released to be awarded a gold record for sales.  It charted at #9 which was by far the highest they would ever get again.  It had their only #1 “Over & Over” that was previously only available on 45.

9.Try Too Hard (June 1966)

Even with two so-so ballads, this is still your Dentist’s all-time fave DC 5 album.  Songs like “Looking In” (Clark/Davidson), “Ever Since You’ve Been Away” (Clark/Payton) and “Somebody Find A New Love” (Clark/Smith) were drenched in echo with nice harmonies.  The melodies were simple, but catchy.  Despite the rockin’ title track charting at #12, the LP could only get to #77 which is a pity as the songs were good showing a heavier guitar sound on “I Really Love You” (Clark/Davidson) and “It Don’t Feel Good” (Clark/Payton).  Nice car on the cover.

10.Satisfied With You (Sept. 1966)

Once again a pretty darn good LP that didn’t get the notice it deserved only making #127 in the album charts.  “It’ll Only Hurt For A Little While”  had a VERY hot bass and drum groove on a ’50s sort of rocker but heavier.  The countryish title track by Clark and Payton didn’t make much headway on the charts only getting to #50.  The other single from the record was a great two-sided pairing with the ooh-pa-pa A-side “Please Tell Me Why” (Clark/Smith) getting to #28 and the superior flip “Look Before You Leap” only getting to “101.  After no covers, they turn in a decent version of “Good Lovin'” but not up to the Young Rascals.

11.More Greatest Hits (Nov. 1966)

It certainly showed desperation on the part of Epic to put out a second hits package in one year – especially in that three songs were not chart hits.  That being said, the B-sides “All Night Long” and the great ’50s style rocker “Don’t Let Me Down” were worth owning on vinyl.  Not surprisingly the chart action was not great with a peak of #103.

12.5 X 5 (March 1967)

With only the low charting (#48) heavy fuzz guitar single “Nineteen Days” (Clark/Payton) to sell the record, a placement on the charts of #119 wasn’t a surprise.  A bit of heavier guitar on “Pick Up Your Phone” (Clark/Smith) couldn’t disguise that the harmonica and Vox organ sounded great in 1964, but in the face of groups like Cream was out of step.  Not really one of their best records.

13.You Got What It Takes (July 1967)

Even with the huge comeback title track hit, this fine album only hit #149 which would have been a shock two years earlier.  1967 was the summer of love with Sgt. Pepper, the Jefferson Airplane, etc.  Old style rockers like “Lovin’ So Good” (Clark/Davidson) and the excellent B-side “Doctor Rhythm” (Clark/Smith) simply weren’t the sound of groups like Moby Grape.  There were two nods to the new psychedelia in “Tabatha Twitchit” (sorta like the Tremeloes) and “Play With Me” a bubblegummy double entendre song.

14.Everybody Knows (Dec. 1967)

Even with four minor chart singles, this LP couldn’t break into the Billboard album charts against records by Jimi Hendrix Experience (Axis: Bold As Love) and the Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour).  The cover of “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby” plus “A Little Bit Now” were less successful attempts to recreate the horn-laden success of “You Got What It Takes”.  The ballad “Red & Blue” had a strong Walker Brothers vibe and while their last chart single “Everybody Knows” (#43) shared a title with an old hit, it was actually a string-laden ballad sung by Lenny Davidson as a change-up.

15. 5 X 5 = Go! (1969)

Interestingly after the U.S. Clark chart run ended, they still had 8 more in the U.K. This 14 track LP featured the singles “No One Can Break A Heart Like You” (a weak ballad sung by Lenny that might have fit Engelbert Humperdinck – ugh) and the Dave Clark sung martial sounding “The Red Balloon”.  Oddly Epic in the U.S. continued to release singles till 1972 to zero interest showing misguided tenacity.  This U.K. album wasn’t bad, but didn’t trouble the charts their in spite of the hits.

16.If Somebody Loves You (1970)

This U.K. album was heavily laden with singles including covers of U.S. hits “Put A Little Love In Your Heart” (Jackie DeShannon) and “Everybody Get Together” (Youngbloods).  They did a group vocal version of the oldie “Here Comes Summer (1959 – Jerry Keller) as well.

17.Play Good Old Rock & Roll (1971)

This record contains the last non-reissue Dave Clark 5 singles to reach the U.K. charts with a #7 – 1969 cover of the Cat Mother & The All-Night Newsboys oldies medley “Good Old Rock ‘N’ Roll” and another medley “More Gold Old Rock ‘N’ Roll” (#34 – 1970).  It was fleshed out with other covers including “Lucille”, “One Night” and a really nice Buddy Holly track “Raining In My Heart”.  I recall being excited back in the day to find an import of this for sale at Independent Records in the JCRS Shopping Center near Casa Bonita.

18.Dave Clark & Friends (1972)

By this time the only classic members left were Dave Clark and Mike Smith so they dropped the Dave Clark 5 name and issued one last album as Dave Clark & Friends with help from Alan Parker and Eric Ford on guitar and bass.  This album was again made up of mostly singles that were covers including Neil Young’s “Southern Man” and “Signs” by the 5 Man Electrical Band.  They did a pretty good version of the Tommy James single “Draggin’ The Line” as well.  After one more single (“Rub It In”) Clark put together a sci-fi musical Time that was successful in the U.K. starring Cliff Richard.  He was very close to Freddie Mercury when he passed after which not much was heard from him.  Smith released a U.K. album in 1976 with Mike D’Abo of Manfred Mann then concentrated on commercial jingles till re-emerging with a fine solo album in 1990 (It’s Only Rock N Roll) and concert success before his untimely accident in 2003.

On The Blue Cruise 2019

Here in the mile high environs, many of the older music acts simply can’t afford to stop on a tour as we are so far away from all the other large cities bands tend to frequent.  Looking online to see if any likely musical suspects were coming to the Denver area, two patterns emerged:  1.nobody was coming to Colorado other than the high ticket acts like Elton John, and 2.many of the bands I love were all going to be in one place from February 10 – 15 – the On The Blue Cruise originating in Miami.  Mrs. Dentist loves to travel while your intrepid reporter would rather stay in the comforts of home, but the line-up of acts was simply too amazing to pass up the opportunity.  Steve Hackett, Procol Harum, Poco, The Orchestra (ELO covers), Alan Parsons, The Zombies/Colin Blunstone, Strawbs, Rick Derringer, Todd Rundgren, Dave Mason, Vanilla Fudge, David Pack/Wally Palmer/John Elefante (Ambrosia/The Romantics/Styx), etc. with the host being Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues – a mind-boggling group of acts in one place.  On a last minute whim, a few thousand greenbacks were sent by the miracle of online transfer and we were set to spend a few days in Miami Beach then sail away on a classic/prog-rock floating Woodstock aboard the Royal Caribbean ship the Mariner Of The Seas.

Getting to DIA proved to be a challenge as it was -10 with the roads being a sheet of ice, but we made it and sat on an American Airlines plane for 4 hours or so then took the shuttle to the Ocean Reef Suites at 1130 Collins in Miami Beach.  Walking the Art Deco restaurants and clubs next to the beach was a sensory bombardment (especially at night).  We had to try a Cuban sandwich and grab a stroll on the sand.

Being Uber virgins, we paid extra due to a mistake we made but finally figured out how to venture forth riding with strangers (speaking Spanish mainly) to shop for 45s (didn’t buy anything) and see the wall art of Wynwood Walls.

We took day trips to the Everglades (about an hour south) and Key West (about four hours south).  The Miami Tour Company bus came by and picked us up at our hotel just as they said they would (thankfully).  Mrs. Dentist loved the huge shrimp and conch.

Cruise day dawned and we did the Uber thing to the dock dressed in our finest rock frocks.  The opening picture of this blog was posted on their Facebook page (my sister Cheryl shared this with me as I am not a member of that group) and I must say that our clothing was the hit of the cruise – Mrs. Dentist worked for hours on the great one-of-a-kind rock and roll coat and more than one artist on-board asked about purchasing it (not for sale, sorry).

We found our way to the lunch buffet (the food was decent till the last day when it was outstanding) and then retired to our tight but adequate stateroom 7435.  The huge bed took up most of the room along with a small couch and a chair plus a tv that never worked (but we were way to busy to watch the tube anyway).  The bathroom was utilitarian, but fine however the tightness of the shower meant that you had to watch dropping the soap or else do some shimmying to retrieve it.  The schedule of concerts was pretty daunting as each day was crammed to the hilt starting as early as 10 AM and ending as late as midnight or so, but they did supply a list every day of all the shows and where they were located.  Some acts performed as many as three times in open seating venues such as Studio B, the Star Lounge and by the pool while others only did one show in the huge Royal Theater with assigned seating.  Those who paid extra for VIP status were seated first then us riffraff were allowed access. To help figure out when and were we wanted to be, your’s truly made up a flow-chart which was invaluable as we raced from place to place.  Everything started late as they were waiting for stragglers, but finally Justin Hayward appeared on the pool stage with his family to wave and welcome all only then to disappear completely for the whole cruise except for the final night concert we were assigned to (there were red and blue groups you were assigned to).  That was a major disappointment frankly as many of the artists were wandering the decks throughout the cruise and often were available for a chat or at least a quick “you were great at your show” – not Mr. Hayward even though he was our host!  Randy Hansen did a credible if incredibly loud Hendrix tribute by the pool and then we attended one of the best shows of the whole five days – Steve Hackett, the amazing ex-Genesis guitarist who stayed true to progressive music and left that band when they went pop.  Mrs. Dentist isn’t a typical prog fan, but thought his show to be outstanding with amazing laser lights and musicianship on songs like “The Musical Box”, “Dance On A Volcano” and “Supper’s Ready”.  The other shows of the day for us were Dave Mason in Studio B and a late night Pink Floyd tribute from The Machine which was by the pool and also so loud as to be painful (but had some nifty lasers).

Day two was a pretty hectic affair with the morning taken up with on-shore activities in Nassau, The Bahamas.  You could go to the island that housed the Atlantis resort but we chose to look for historic structures in the town then took a cruise to see fish, etc.

The music part of the day was crammed full with an Al Stewart show, Procol Harum and Strawbs Q & A’s, the first of three shows we would attend by the Orchestra who do a wonderful ELO tribute (the other favorite act of Mrs. Dentist), Alan Parsons’ first of two shows, Todd Rundgren overly loud again by the pool, The Young Dubliners and David Pack’s Legends Live in their first of several shows.  The Alan Parsons show was wild with all the lasers and great musicianship, but to call him a singer is a stretch yet he tries to sing some of the leads originated by the late co-Project founder Eric Woolfson.  The Orchestra can lay claim to the ELO franchise even without Jeff Lynne as they feature some former members plus some other fine players like Glen Burtnik of Styx and Eric Troyer who worked with John Lennon among others.  David Pack was the lead singer of Ambrosia (“Biggest Part Of Me”) and his band included Wally Palmer of The Romantics (“What I Like About You”) and John Elefante a later singer in Styx (plus powerful drummer Kenny Aronoff who wanted no part of giving your Dentist an autograph – the only uncomfortable moment of the cruise).  The Strawbs are one of the best prog bands ever and frankly a fine bunch of guys to boot – young keyboard player Dave Bainbridge plus stalwarts Chas Cronk, Tony Fernandez (very nice guys to talk with) and the Dave’s – Lambert and Cousins.  Talking to them was like talking to the Beatles for this writer.  Alan Parsons was awarded a Grammy that day so was honored on board plus guested with David Pack as he had produced records for Ambrosia.

Tuesday we were at sea and decided to skip the Zombies Q & A to attend birthday boy Steve Hackett’s autographing of his new album At The Edge Of Light (and anything else you had, frankly).  That was a brilliant stroke that oddly no other act took advantage of.  Having an autograph session with copies of albums for sale meant more money for Hackett and other acts should have done the same as you have to figure they would have sold multiple CDs (the cruise merchandise table had t-shirts and music for sale but they were not autographed).  We then hustled up from the Star Lounge to the upper deck Viking Crown Lounge (overlooking the pool stage) to experience a rare and unexpected treat – a live painting session with album cover artist Roger Dean (Yes, Asia, Gun, Osibisa, Gentle Giant, etc.).  For $99 we purchased a limited edition signed exclusive cruise print – a very cool work of art.  Former Colorado good guy Rusty Young of Poco did a Q & A as did Alan Parsons then we went to our first photo experience where a very long line awaited D. Pack Legends, Procol Harum, The Orchestra & Wishbone Ash.  After the VIP’s entered, we were brought in to the room in waves of twenty then a photo was taken of each of us with the different acts.  Frankly we still don’t have a clue how we will get to see those pictures but we are hopeful it will happen.  We then crammed in Rick Derringer of the McCoys (on the painfully loud pool stage), Stephen Bishop (the folk singer in Animal House), Strawbs and the Zombies.  Luckily they had late night eats from 11 PM to 3 in the morning as eating dinner didn’t fit that crazy day.  Before you entered the Windjammer Buffet, there were many handwash outlets plus hand sanitizer stations (also spread throughout the ship to prevent illness).  The Zombies were wonderful and for the last song “She’s Not There” they included all four living original members.  We were given glow sticks to wave during the Argent hit “Hold Your Head Up”.  Special mention needs to be made of The Strawbs as they were at the pool stage which actually sounded incredible for them with loud mellotron/guitar on songs like “Down By The Sea” and “Autumn”.   They were troupers in the face of gale force winds which made for very dramatic pictures as their hair was whipping behind them but probably felt awful.

Day four had us at the private island of Labadee (Haiti) for a cruise along the shore (seeing the village and fishermen with lobsters) and a beach stroll, but prior to that we attended a Todd Rundren Q & A that was awful in that the interviewer didn’t ask any real music questions and didn’t allow the audience to participate (something that all the other Q & A sessions had done).  At lunch we had a surprise moment with David Pack who has to have been the nicest celeb on the cruise – thanks, David!  After returning to the boat, we enjoyed another photo experience with Alan Parsons, The Strawbs, The Zombies and Al Stewart.  We attended yet another excellent Orchestra concert though they did the same songs (the other acts who did multiple concerts made changes to their sets).  We saw Procol Harum by the pool which was again too loud and then Poco which was the most painfully loud of all the pool shows (even with earplugs, the bass was still uncomfortable).  An extra add-on show was tacked on at 11:15 with an all-star band made up of players who had been on the Cruise To The Edge which ended prior to ours (featuring Yes, John Lodge and a host of young prog acts).  The leader of that show was keyboard player Dave Kerzner whose New World (deluxe edition) was my top album a few years back (others were guitarist Fernando Perdomo and the McBroom sisters).

The final full day of the cruise was jammed with music but started as usual with us eating breakfast (no vacation is truly a vacation without a waffle after all) and doing at least two miles walking around the pool.  The rest of the day saw us running around the ship starting with a 10 AM photo op with Dave Mason, Danny Seraphine’s CTA (a Chicago tribute we never had time to see), Poco and Randy Hansen.  Next was a fun poolside Q and A with David Pack, Wally Palmer and John Elefante.  We had a later photo op with The Young Dubliners, Steve Hackett (who comically said about our clothing that he felt under-dressed), Todd Rundgren with Utopia members and Rick Derringer (who talked to me about the 1965 Denver Freddie & The Dreamers, The Beau Brummels and The McCoys concert which was my first ever show).  We caught Procol Harum in Studio B and frankly they benefited from much better sound than the pool gig and played a fabulous set with highlights “Grand Hotel”, “Whisky Train” (with hot guitar riffage from Geoff Whitehorn) and “Conquistador”. We managed to see half of the Colin Blunstone set where he combined Zombies hits with his own catalog including a rocked up version of “Say You Don’t Mind” and “Wonderful”.  Oddly, the Strawbs in Studio B while good were not as hot as by the pool since the sound wasn’t as loud plus they lost a lot of their audience to competing shows (this cruise forced you have to make tough decisions on which shows to see and when to eat).  We raced out to the main theater to see most of Alan Parsons’ set (“Don’t Answer Me”, “Time”, Breakdown”, “Sirius”, “Eye In The Sky”, etc.) which had a guest spot with Gary Brooker of Procol Harum singing “Limelight”.  We again went to the pool stage which sounded better this time for the Orchestra and their third stab at playing the same set (but it was still a lot of fun getting to sing along to “Strange Magic”, “Mr. Blue Sky”, “Do Ya”, etc.).  After an amazing dinner where all our good work at not overeating totally went out the window, we attended a very pretty but subdued Justin Hayward show which had at least one of us nodding off during the quiet songs like “The Actor” and “Are You Sitting Comfortably”.  He seemed to labor over some of the vocals which has to be a concern going forward.  Finally we managed to see a bit of Vanilla Fudge by the pool (again way too loud).  They were extremely nice signing autographs and talking to fans.

All in all it was a blast to hear so much great music and to get to know some of the acts personally.  I wish I had a handle on who could be approached for autographs as after the Aronoff debacle I tended to shy away from bothering these guys (there were obvious jerks on the boat too who pestered the artists to sign multiple items – those folk gave the rest of us a bad name).  That being said, we got so many requests to have photos taken with us because of our clothing that you did tend to see how tiring it must be for these folk to constantly be bombarded with requests for personal time – we all have bad days, but these guys aren’t allowed that luxury which is too bad.  I would recommend this sort of cruise wholeheartedly and would do it again as long as the the line-up was different enough to make it of interest.  I don’t think a cruise with only a few entertainment opportunities would be something I would want to do however as it is obvious that you can get bored with too much downtime.  It would be nice to also see one of these for British Invasion bands or something like that to appeal to us baby boomers who spend the money for these sorts of things.  Thanks to all the artists and the hardworking staff for making this a memorable experience (we had a lot of fun talking to the great On The Blue security folk while waiting for events to happen as well).  The last day we awoke at 5 to greet the Miami sunrise after breakfast then take our two mile hike before leaving the ship.  For those who wonder, they assigned numbers to let you know when you would leave the ship (ours was an 8:10 exit) and then you go through customs (quick and painless) and grab your luggage to find a host of shuttles waiting to whisk you to the airport, etc.  United Airlines did a fine job of getting us home to pick up an elated dog from his week at “camp”.