Jukebox Heart 018: Jukebox Heart Is Not Bitter

Happy Valentine’s Day, Jukebox Heart style. Originally inspired by the stench of dead rose water and the flying shards of a shattered vase, by the shocking gross-out discovery of tiny worms in the chocolates after you’ve eaten half the box, by the sudden panic of a pathetically miscalculated Valentine card striking seconds after leaving the post office, and by the resentful misdemeanor of another’s relentless, unassuming popularity, these 22 tracks capture the essence of a Valentine’s Day gone horribly wrong. These are the divas of Jukebox Heart. These are not your typical divas – no Babs or Billie or Judy or Liza. Rather, these are, for the most part, the women scorned, the hoofers climbed over by the likes of Joan Crawford, the never-would-be’s, the Valentines that never came. These songs go for the jugular with a crippled, vulnerable warble, a single broken note, or a gravelly, throaty melody suggesting the passage of years and the consumption of many things illicit – all for the sake of a love gone bad. For best listening, one should be lying on one’s back, in a dark room, smoking vertically poised cigarettes, with a nearly full ashtray balanced on the breastbone beside a half-empty tumbler of boozey goodness. Click on the arrow below to hear many a torchlighter croon, and click on her picture below to learn more than you ever wanted to know about her music. High marks will be given to anyone who can identify – before looking! – all of the ladies below. Extra credit if you have tears in your ears from lying on your back, crying, sighing and dying. All of these are presented in their original format – surface noise be damned – for that extra touch of historical sincerity. Each page opens with the single track of the artist, too, to help you match the face to the song. Savvy listeners will also know how to download the individual tracks for their very own as well..

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The Playlist. Can you match the song to the lovely diva below?

Timi Yuro – Hurt
Miss Toni Fisher – The Big Hurt
The Ronettes – How Does It Feel?
Shelley Fabares – Johnny Angel
Dodie Fields – Miss Lonely Hearts
Marcey Joe – Sine Gary Went In The Navy
The Shirelles – The Dance is Over
The Chantels – He’s Gone
Lilian Leach and the Mellows – Smoke From Your Cigarette
Esther Phillips – Double Crossing Blues
Lavern Baker – Tomorrow Night
Wynona Carr – Should I Ever Love Again?
Brenda Lee – I’m Sorry
Gloria Lynne – I Wish You Love
Sarah Vaughan – You Go To My Head
Dodie Stevens – Poor Butterfly
Etta Jones – Don’t Go To Strangers
Ketty Lester – Once Upon A Time
The Shangri-Las – Remember (Walking In The Sand)
Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me
Patty Duke – Don’t Just Stand There
The Angels – Cry Baby Cry

Disco Sucks!: Hosanna

Some 35 years later, this one-hit wonder has become somewhat of an elusive mystery. Sure, it’s not hard to find…eBay usually has a copy up for five bucks. But inernet searches yield precious little information on this gem.

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Even when this came out, it was pretty difficult to obtain. I just remember one of my friends saying they saw it at the local disco record shop in Brooklyn (Wiz!) so I ran and grabbed a copy. They used to play it at the 2001 Odyssey. So much so that this *should* have been part of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Damn those Bee Gees!! Anyway, that’s all I can tell you about this. :) Feel free to add comments if you can give us some more info…

The label, Calla Records, on the other hand, is legend. Calla was a small, New York City-based independent black owned Soul record label run by Nate McCalla and active c. 1965 to 1977. It defined New York soul in the sixties, and artists who recorded for the label included J.J. Jackson, The Sand Pebbles, Little Jerry Williams (aka Swamp Dogg), Jean Wells, The Emotions, The Fuzz, Lonnie Youngblood, The Persuaders, and Geraldine Hunt among others. Part of Roulette Records, they were distributed by Shakat Records, then later by CBS.

As Recorded Live: Minny Pops

Minny Pops Live, 1980

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Of all the fascinating bands to emerge from the twinned label stable of Factory and Crepuscule in the post-punk era, Dutch electro pioneers Minny Pops are probably the least understood, and least lauded. Which is a great pity, since much of their output still impresses today as powerful and original experimental music. The creative anchor to Minny Pops was Wally van Middendorp, a key figure in Amsterdam’s underground Ultra art movement, and founder of the Plurex label in early 1978. His first single, as Tits, coupled We’re Glad Elvis Is Dead with Daddy Is My Pusher (PLUREX 001), and was a fairly typical new wave record, though darkly humorous.

In September of that year Minny Pops were formed as a predominantly electronic band, taking their name from a primitive Korg rhythm box named Mini Pops, and having something in common with Suicide, The Normal and Human League. The first line-up, featuring Wally on vocals and drum machine with bassist Frans Hagenaars, guitarist Peter Mertens and two dancers, including Wally’s brother Rob, made their live debut on December 12th at the Brakke Grond in Amsterdam.

The band returned home to play a Dutch tour with The Tapes in May, which resulted in a rush-released Minny Pops Live ep (PLUREX 0016) in June, featuring Night Out, Dolphin’s Spurt and Mental, later recorded as Een Kus. In August the group returned to Manchester to record their debut Factory single, and complete a short headlining tour of the north of England in August, taking in Leeds Warehouse, Sheffield Blitz and Manchester Beach Club. The image above is the band in 1979.

There is a scant website for the band. It doesn’t have much information, but does provide links to various other sites featuring more about this great and elusive band, including availability of their reissues on Les Temps Modernes, so check it out!

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Special Report: Bassett Hand

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This 45 has been in my collection since time immemorial, and until recently, information about it has been totally elusive. The A Side sounds like it could have been used for the theme for a show for teaching language skills to adults; a sexier Sesame Street, what with the ‘Baby, Baby’ interlude and the foot-shufflin’ hip-swingin’ gum-snappin’ pool-shootin’ rhythm. *This* Sesame Street is squarely in the red-light district, and its residents drink & smoke and fuck like bunnies in the backseats of Buicks. And the flipside? Arguably the worst song ever recorded. So the debate began? Lost 45? Or Incredibly Strange Music?

Anyway, the more research I did on this record, the more intriguing it became. All the information I could find was peripheral, but apparently the characters behind Bassett Hand went on to be responsible for music more directly Jukebox Heart-ish. Hence, this Special Report. Oh yeah, here’s that fabulous flip side…

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But exactly who is Bassett Hand? An internet search doesn’t yield much. According to the Global Dog Productions discography for Josie Records, this single was released in 1965, along with one other that same year. This coincides with the timeframe for the information below.

A little more digging yielded an entry into the Spectropop Discussion Group archives:

> Does anyone know what the term BASSETT HAND means on Bang Records
> labels?

The liner notes to Robert Feldman’s career retrospective LP “Roots Of
S.O.B.*, Vol. 2” include this dedication (among several others):

“To Richard Gottehrer & Gerald Goldstein: The 2 “G’s in F.G.G., aka
Niles & Giles Strange aka Bassett Hand, etc., etc., thank you for some
of the best years of my life. The memories and the music will always
be there.”

The collection includes two Bassett Hand tracks, “Happy Organ Shake”
and “Soul Paradise,” (the other 45 on Josie) but offers no writing credits for these or any of its other tracks…

A close look at the record labels above will show the FGG team scores writing credits for both the tracks as well. Further investigation links Bassett Hand to many production credits on the famous 1960’s imprint, Bang Records as well as some intersting surprises. The place to begin is with The Strangeloves.

The Strangeloves were the creation of an American songwriting/production team in the 1960s who were from New York but pretended to be from Australia. Their biggest hits were “I Want Candy,” “Cara-Lin” and “Night Time”.

Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer (FGG Productions) had already scored big hits for other artists, including “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels, when they decided to invent The Strangeloves.

According to the press releases, The Strangeloves were three brothers named Giles, Miles and Niles Strange who had grown up on an Australian sheep farm. The brothers’ faked backstory involved getting rich with the invention of a new form of sheep crossbreeding (the long-haired “Gottehrer” sheep, allegedly registered with the Feldman-Goldstein Company of Australia), allowing them the time and financial freedom to form a band. The story did not exactly capture the public’s imagination, but the music still performed respectably on the charts.

When “I Want Candy” became a hit single in mid-1965, the producers found themselves in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable position of performing as live artists. This short-lived experience was followed by a road group composed of four of the studio musicians who had actually recorded these songs. The musicians in the initial road group were bass player / vocalist John Shine, guitarist Jack Raczka, drummer Tom Kobus and sax player / vocalist Richie Lauro. This group was replaced in early 1966 by a trio of FGG studio musicians that more closely adhered to the founding concept of the Brothers Strange: guitarist Jack Raczka (Giles Strange), drummer / vocalist Joe Piazza (Miles Strange), and keyboardist / vocalist Ken Jones (Niles Strange).

While on the road in Ohio in 1965 as The Strangeloves, Feldman, Goldstein and Gottehrer came upon a local band known as Ricky Z and the Raiders, led by Rick Derringer (who was Rick Zehringer at the time). Recognizing their raw talent, the producers immediately brought Rick and his band to New York, recorded Rick’s voice over the existing music track from The Strangeloves’ album I Want Candy and released “Hang on Sloopy” as a single under the name The McCoys.

The Strangeloves’ only LP, I Want Candy, was released in 1965 on Bert Berns’ Bang Records, with several of the album songs having been released as singles. Other singles by The Strangeloves have appeared on Swan Records and Sire Records.

Their songs have been covered by The J. Geils Band, The Fleshtones, and (with great pop success) by Bow Wow Wow.

Gottehrer went on to later fame as a record producer of early CBGB’s luminaries such as Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Fleshtones, and Blondie, as well as being the co-founder of Sire Records along with Seymour Stein. He also worked with Robert Gordon, who was one of many who revitalized rockabilly in the late 1970s.

In his role as a producer and manager, Goldstein also continued to have an effect on the music world. He suggested to the band Nightshift that they team up with Eric Burdon, which became War, and had the Circle Jerks on his Far Our Productions management company and LAX record label.

The following credit appears on every Strangeloves record: “Arranged and Conducted by Bassett Hand.” In fact, there is no such person as “Bassett Hand.”

Fascinating.

Some more photos for my collector geek buddies:

Note the Bassett Hand credit:

And a picture of the band from the LP jacket:

Most recognize the yin/yang design of Sire Records from the late 70s and later.
Here is an early Sire Records label design:

Lost 45s: Angel Baby

As I was driving to work this morning, I was falling in love all over again with Allison Shaw, vocalist of The Cranes. As I’ve pointed out to so many friends, everytime I hear The Cranes, the most unlikely association pops up, the song featured in today’s Lost 45s. I fiorst published this in my other on-line music thing, the now defunct Moonlight Radio, back in 2006. But just in case you missed it…

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The article below is excerpted from a fan’s tribute website, and I have to say, I agree with most of it. This is a captivating song, and, I think, influential in a variety of subtle ways. The phrase _just like heaven_ pretty much originates in this song, and it appears in many rock songs as recently as The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’. And her vocal styling – I’m not sure if innocent is the word I’d use. It’s kind of stylized in the sex-kittenish tones of the day, and her humid adenoidal slur is the foundation for many female rock vocalists from Deborah Harry to Alison Shaw of the Cranes to Stanton Miranda (of Arsenal with Kim Gordon and of Thick Pigeon). The article below explains a lot about the record – like how it escaped onto the market with such a terrible instrumental break, and why it sounds like it was recorded in a tin can – it WAS.

This is the quintessential 45, and no one’s record collection is complete without it. And I mean no-one, from the rock-n-roll purist, to the 45 RPM historian, to the kitsch-culturist, to the hippest new wave vinyl junkie to the most post-modern noisehound. There were millions pressed, so there is no excuse NOT to own one. (I even have an extra copy for sale…)

Here’s a shot of Rosie’s solo album for Brunswick Records, circa 1963.

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Rosie was born in Oregon, lived in Alaska and eventually settled in Southern California in 1956. She attended Granger Jr. High School in National City, California, and was active in the glee club. It seemed that there was always music or entertainment of some sort in the Hamlin household and Rosie was exposed to a variety of genres at an early age. Her Dad played guitar and her grandfather played banjo and harmonica. Her grandfather even had a _travelling medicine show_ complete with _Hamlin’s Snakebit Oil!_ Sometimes, Rosie would hide behind the couch so she could stay up and listen to them play, falling asleep to the sounds. One of her earliest memories was at the age of 4 standing on a box in her back yard pretending it was a stage and putting on a show.

When she was just 13, Rosie’s friend Alfred Barrett encouraged her to enter a talent show at their junior high school. While babysitting with a friend, Rosie spotted an ad in the paper for a group looking for a singer. She called them on the phone and they asked how old she was. Rosie told them she was 16 and she proceeded to sing Dark Moon over the phone. They liked what they heard and asked her to come to their rehearsal. She had to sneak out of the house under the guise of going to a babysitting job. When she got there, Rosie had the group thinking she was 16, partly because of some make-up she borrowed from her mother. She performed with the group and was a regular with them for a while at gigs in the San Diego area including the famous Bostonia Ballroom in El Cajon, California, which was her professional debut. _My legs were shaking,_ recalls Rosie.

That year, two important things happened that would change Rosie’s life forever. First, her mother bought her an old upright piano and her aunt began teaching her how to play it. She would play by-ear music she would hear on the radio. She learned old honky tonk, blues and boogie songs many of the _twelve-bar_ variety. Her uncle’s girlfriend later invited some other musicians over to the house to _jam._ These guys were David Ponci (guitar), Noah Tafolla (guitar) and Tony Gomez (bass). They would eventually become the Originals with two other guys joining in and Tafolla would later become her husband.

The other important thing that happened when Rosie was 14 was her putting down to paper the classic Angel Baby. It started out as a poem about a boyfriend written in her school notebook. Later, Rosie would add the melody for it. Rosie says that the melody was not, as some have reported, based on the song Heart and Soul, although Rosie acknowledges that it was probably influenced by a number of songs that she learned to play on the piano of the _Heart and Soul_ variety. Anticipating that it could be a special song, Rosie recalls that she mailed herself a copy via certified mail to prove the date that she created it. This would turn out to be an important decision later on when she needed to prove authorship.

After a few months of jamming together and playing some shows for friends at school, the Originals decided it was time to record. But rather than drive all the way to Los Angeles, the group decided to try a local recording shop in the rural desert community of San Marcos, California – about an hour’s drive away. They arrived at the place which turned out to be an abandoned airplane hanger! The owner was in the process of converting over from an airplane supply company and had airplane parts all over the place. In one corner, was his small, makeshift two-track studio. The group prepared to record. Only one problem – their sax player – Alfred Barrett hadn’t arrived. After calling Barrett, they learned he wouldn’t be joining them because he had to cut the grass at home! The group improvised. Noah taught the sax part to bass player Tony Gomez who had played some horn in school. The group then set off to record Angel Baby.

In all fairness, the setting wasn’t the greatest – an abandoned airplane hanger, a simple two-track machine, an inexperienced sax player and probably a nervous rest of the group. It took _all day_ recalls Rosie to get what the group thought was a decent version of the song. To listen to it now, it certainly wouldn’t win any awards for recording quality [he’s totally being kind…the instrumental break completely sucks! LOL! Listen to it! Now I understand how it got cut that way! – Paul]. But the record is so simple and innocently-beautiful that it actually matches the lyrics and melody. It actually works as-is. Had it been taken into a studio, recorded with high quality equipment and a professional orchestra, it may not have been a hit. It probably would have been _over produced_ like many records of the time and may have been overlooked. Instead, the record is so simple and sweet, it has a unique appeal.

Lost 45s: The Critters

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In 1966, this New York group came off very much like a Lovin’ Spoonful Jr., scoring a minor hit with a cover of John Sebastian’s ‘Younger Girl’ and then chalking up their only Top 20 single with the very Spoonful-esque original ‘Mr. Dieingly Sad.’ The group’s soft harmonies and pop folk-rock were in a considerably lighter vein than their Kama Sutra labelmates, though. Much of their material was self-penned, though they also benefited from compositions by Jackie DeShannon and Brill Building tunesmiths Pete Anders, Vinnie Poncia, and Doc Pomus. Recording quite a few singles and an LP for Kama Sutra from 1965 to 1967, their gentle pop/rock was rather lightweight, with the exception of their best singles. After a final Top 40 hit in 1967 (‘Don’t Let the Rain Fall Down on Me’), principal songwriter Don Ciccone was drafted, and the group struggled on with a couple albums for the Project 3 label before splitting.

I just think this is a fabulous song because of the couplet ‘…you’re so mystifyingly glad./I’m Mr. Dieingly Sad.” So many of my navel-gazing friends and fans of The Clientele everywhere desperately need to know this song.

The Del Fuegos

While visiting my nephew and his wife in Virginia a few weeks ago, they put on some kids’ music and we laughed as we watched my baby great-nephew wiggle and dance to the music. But that voice. I know it. and the buzz rode up in me and nagged at me until my nephew said. “I love this guy’s music. He used to be in this band a long time ago, in Boston…” and just as he said the name of the band, it burst out that dark closet in my mind as well. Of course. The Del Fuegos. That’s Dan Zanes!

Suddenly, it was 1982 again, at the Inn Square Men’s Bar (Ladies Invited!) in Cambridge, where I’d seen the Del Fuegos, along with The Neats, The Lyres, The Turbines, and countless others countless times. That voice is just unmistakable.

The DelFuegos were a staple in the post-punk roots rock revival thing going on back then, and the crowd was distinctively a raucous punk rock crowd. Untold amounts of beer was consumed, to the point of never quite being able to find my car…a blessing in disguise. But I digress.

A Side: I Can’t Sleep

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B Side: I Always Call Her Back

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So here is the first single the band put out, for tiny indie label Czech Records. It doesn’t appear on their official discography, and only the B Side got reissued in 1993, on the fantastic DIY: Mass. Ave. – The Boston Scene (1975-83) compilation CD. The A Side, presented here, remains out of print. The B Side got considerable airplay on my own radio program.

The Del Fuegos won critical favor and a loyal, if not ravenous, cult following at home and on the road for their passionate, no-frills style. Formed in 1980, the Del Fuegos consisted of guitarist and singer Dan Zanes, his brother Warren Zanes on guitar, bassist Tom Lloyd, and drummer Steve Morrell. They began to gain support outside of Boston with the band’s first few low-budget tours. While the Del Fuegos began recording an album for legendary local label Ace of Hearts Records, who are most famous for Mission of Burma, but whose back catalog is just SOLID and is worth your time to research, in 1984 the famed Los Angeles indie Slash Records (who gave us X and The Violent Femmes among many others!) stepped in and signed them, releasing their first album, The Longest Day, in the fall of that year. By now, Steve Morrell had parted ways with the band, and former Embarrassment percussionist Woody Giessmann had taken over the drum kit. The Longest Day’s mixture of attitude, guitar firepower, and heart-on-the-sleeve emotion clicked with both critics and fans, and the Del Fuegos seemed poised for a commercial breakthrough with their second album, 1985’s Boston, Mass.

While “Don’t Run Wild” and “I Still Want You” earned enough radio and MTV airplay to make you crazy and the album received rave reviews, it wasn’t the hit some were hoping for, and the more self-consciously hip members of the music world began to turn their backs on the band after it appeared in a widely seen beer commercial. Actually, it wasn’t the commercial itlsef, it was the dumbass line “Rock n Roll is folk music cuz…it’s for folks!” that sent everyone away incredulously sighing.

The band began reaching for a more ambitious sound and wider musical range on its third album, but 1987’s Stand Up received harsh reviews and little support from fans, despite the Del Fuegos’ appearance on an extended tour with noted fan Tom Petty (who also guested on Stand Up), in which the group shared the opening slot with the Replacements. After Stand Up’s disappointing reception, Woody Giessmann and Warren Zanes both quit the Del Fuegos, and the band was dropped by Slash. In 1989, Dan Zanes and Tom Lloyd decided to give the band another chance, bringing aboard guitarist Adam Roth and drummer Joe Donnelly and cutting a new album, Smoking in the Fields, but while critics were kinder to the new set than Stand Up, the album was a commercial bust, and within a year the Del Fuegos were history.

Dan Zanes went on to a solo career and in time found success with a series of acclaimed children’s albums, at least one of which is responsible for me digging up this gem and making this Lost45s entry here in Jukebox Heart.

Lost 45s

Lost 45s is a new category in the Jukebox Heart blog.

The cherished 45 RPM record celebrated its 50th anniversary just a few years ago to little applause. Completely overcome by events in technology, the 45 lives on as an icon to American culture cutting across lines perhaps moreso than any other piece of Americana history. Once the heart and soul of Jukeboxes everywhere, the “7-inch” remains now only as a kitsch promotional item among major labels and as a boutique niche market item for collectors of alternative music. Nevertheless, the 45 remains a staple of listening for many die hard music fans. This new category pays homage to the 45 RPM record. The track presented here is a 45 just aching to be rediscovered.

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Barbara George’s ‘I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More)’ topped the R&B charts in 1961 and has proven a popular cover item ever since. The New Orleans native had never been in the studio before she brought her extremely catchy melody to Harold Battiste’s fledgling A.F.O. label. Benefiting from her pleasing, unpolished vocal and a melodic coronet solo by Melvin Lastie (NOT Herb Alpert, as has been rumored in the past – despite the similarity), the tune caught fire, vaulting high on pop playlists. Amazingly, nothing else George did ever dented the charts, although she waxed some listenable follow-ups for A.F.O. and Sue.

Born Barbara Ann Smith in 1942, she sang in church and on the streets of New Orleans, where she was discovered by the singer Jessie Hill, who had written and recorded the Mardi Gras favorite ‘Ooh Poo Pah Doo’. By this time she was married, and would record under the name Barbara George. Hill took her to audition for Harold Battiste, who was setting up the A.F.O. (All For One) label with the crème de la crème of New Orleans African-American session musicians. George based ‘I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More)’ on the traditional gospel song ‘Just A Closer Walk With Thee’ and Battiste wasn’t too impressed at first, though he agreed to help her cut the track.

Originally released at the end of 1961 on A.F.O., the catchy single soon gained nationwide distribution by Sue Records. It topped the R&B charts and crossed over to the US pop listings, eventually peaking at No 3 in January 1962. ‘You Talk About Love’, George’s follow-up single, only made the lower reaches of the Top 100 and, after releasing the first album on A.F.O., she signed directly to Juggy Murray’s Sue operation, joining a roster which included Ike and Tina Turner and Baby Washington. However, George only issued four singles on Sue – ‘If You Think’ and ‘Send For Me (If You Need Some Lovin’)’, another minor hit, ‘Recipe (For Perfect Fools)’ and ‘Something’s Definitely Wrong’.

Battiste, the New Orleans arranger who had been her mentor, rued the day she had decided to join Murray’s label, telling John Browen, the author of Rhythm & Blues In New Orleans: “Fatherly advice is no good when you’re fighting Cadillacs, fancy clothes and money.” The success of George’s début 45 helped put A.F.O. on the map, but also brought problems since it was only achieved with the help of Sue. Battiste moved to California in 1963, a few months after George’s defection to Sue. George subsequently issued a few more sides on Lana and Seven B in the ’60s, before dropping out of music to look after her three sons.

This is definitely part of the soundtrack of my childhood, along with countless other songs. These were the sounds of the early 60’s, when my brother and sister were teens, and I was just going along for the ride in my stroller… Here is a beautiful copy of this classic 45.