Next on the pop shelf is a mp3 collection I got back to time & again. It’s a fun mix of generations all of which are now nostalgia. I have Blues Magoos, The Electric Prunes, Prelude, The Nerves, Live at CBGB’s and Tuff Darts! rubbing elbows.
under the tree
Blues Magoos: Psychedelic Lollipop, Electric Comic Book, Basic: The extra trendy New York 60’s fashion on the covers is worth looking them up. I so wanted that polkadot shirt. The music is garage band, driven by that Farfisa organ of the time – very commercial and teen love ‘We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet’ with ‘psychedelic’ covers of Gloria, Tobacco road but this isn’t the psychedelic of The Jefferson Airplane or 5O Foot Hose.
I loved these first two lps & was shamed out of even owning them. But finally reclaiming for my iPod several years ago has brought me great joy – I play the first two over & over when they come up in rotation (even when they don’t I often get this urge to hear them again.) I guess there’s a strong residue of my youthfulness when I hear them. There are few lps that have this sort of play over & over hold on me: Country Joe & The Fish: Electric Music For Mind & Body; Mothers: Absolutely Free.
four-car pile up
The Electric Prunes: Too Much To Dream, Underground, Mass – more ultra hip 60’s fashion. A guitar driven sound that made a radio splash then they sank – the songs are, at times, novelty type with hippy-dippy undertones. They seem so innocent now. Mass is exactly what it says: a Catholic sung in Latin. A minor sensation when it was first released, a sort of precursor to what began prog-rock.
Prelude: one hit wonder with a radiant take on After The Gold Rush – a sweet country folk sound that veers unexpectedly into Christian rock.
the lonely ball
The Nerves would fit perfectly into CBGB’s – they wrote Hanging on The Telephone which Blondie recorded. They reflect the jittery rock power pop sound that CBGB’s breathed life into on the double lp of live music. The Shirts, Mink de Ville and more. I remember what a sensation this ‘new’ direction in music started but never really fulfilled. Tuff Darts! was one of the bands & I did come cross this lp of their’s: fine energetic rock. Where are the CBGB groups today?
My late friend Jackie Burroughs lived in New York at the time of the Blues Magoos. She was married to Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin’ Spoonful at the time. This is a true story.
The song begins with a sweet thump of bass and drums, a guitar skitter and into a cheesy Farfisa burble — the singer starts smooth, “We ain’t got nothing yet.”
The music fills her apartment. Dust motes catch the light as they Swim to the music.
Jackie’s eyes widen as she sits in her well cushioned chair. She begins to laugh then coughs, can’t catch her breath. I stop the cd even though she waves for me to let it go on.
“Let it play, Dunc,” she gasps, takes a deep breath and is back to as normal as her many pain meds allow her to be. Pain meds that took a week of careful monitoring so she could keep a balance between awareness and total numbness. “Where did you find it?”
“Googled Blues Magoos.”
“You know I slept with their lead guitarist.”
“Dennis LePore?” I’d done my homework. The day before we’d talked about when she lived in New York in the mid-sixties, how she had slept around. A lot.
The next track, by a different band, started. Thin guitar, ragged drums, raspy vocal, “Are you a boy or are you girl?” This singer seems to struggle. The Blues Magoos were better produced.
“Holy fuck! I slept with the drummer. Moulty. I remember he only had one hand. Taped a drumstick to his hook on the other. The Barbarians.”
“I know. I know. Victor Moulton.” She had told me about Moulty a few times.
These were songs I remembered from when I was growing up in the sixties. Album covers I pored over to see what these exotic rock stars had in their pants. While I was poring she was sleeping with them, handling what they had in their pants.
She began to cough again. I was used to this cough. I’d been hearing it for some fifteen years now since I’d met Jackie. She was a walking cigarette that smoked like a chimney, so everyone expected it would be lung cancer but it wasn’t.
It was stomach cancer. Inoperable.