Sal Mineo & The Grass Roots

The Grass Roots: All Time Greatest Hits starts off a mp3 collection of wide ranging bands mostly from the mid to late 60’s. Grass Roots was corporate packaged to produce hits, slick, well produced, solid pop that is nearly interchangeable with top ten hits from The Archies or The Monkees or Three Dog Night. The hits bring back eat coast memories. The band itself wasn’t that well through of though thanks to their popularity. But musically better than say 1910 Fruitgum Company.

Another corporate package was Sal Mineo! I have The Complete Epic Recordings. I say packaged because there was an attempt to make teen movie or TV stars into pop stars (& vice-versa). George Maharis, Chris Connelly also experienced this same corporate attempt to capitalize on their stardom. I love Sal. His life is tragic, his on screen presence is magnetic & he was hot. His singing is ordinary, perhaps even mediocre. His material belies his open homosexuality with absurd songs of teenage boy girl love. Hearing his sing songs like “My Bride” is more sad thn campy. 

Another TV star was Don Grady (My Three Sons) his band The Yellow Balloon – released one lp of sunshine pop – think Beach Boys, in fact Beach Boys make an appearance. This is a something I came across rather than searched out. An artifact as opposed to a neglected treasure. Diverting but no compelling.

Also here are some one-hit wonders: first up is Rare Earth with: One World, Willie Remembers, Ma – three solid lps full of cover versions of things like What’d I Say & original songs. The hit was I Just Want to Celebrate. All solid music. Sugarloaf had one hit Green-Eyed Lady which is not on their  Spaceship Earth: album. The music is competent but it could be Grass Roots for it’s lack of identity. Both bands successfully try their hand at long form: i.e. pieces that run over ten minutes.

Ides of March had one big hit: Vehicle & a couple of lps including Common Bond. When Vehicle hit the charts many though: oh a new single from Blood, Sweat & Tears. lead vocalist is a ringer for David Clayton Thomas & the horns have the same smooth jazz brass sound. It seemed only natural to include Ten Wheel Drive’s Brief Replies to finish off this collection. Another big brassy jazzy-pop band but edgier than BS&T but no one would mistake dynamic lead singer Genya Ravan for Thomas. I have more Ten Wheel tucked away on other compilations.

Interest

‘You coming Judy?’

‘Not right away.’

Safti had usually walked with her from the bus to the school. Fifteen, he had failed a year and was in same the grade her, but not the same class.

‘Don’t want to be late, do you?’

‘It’s okay. First period is an easy one for me. You get going though. I’ll see you at lunch.’

‘Okay. Thanks for helping me with the History stuff. You are such a brain.’

‘Thanks. Too bad Sal was more like me, right?’

‘Whatever. See you.’

He ran across the parking lot and into the side door. Only the boys could use that door. She peeped around the front to see if those girls where there. They weren’t. She hurried up the steps. They were just inside the front door.

‘Oh! Look who’s trying to sneak past,’ Jen grabbed Judy by the hair and yanked her back hard.

Judy began to cry. ‘Leave me alone.’

‘Yeah in a minute.’ Jane unzipped Judy’s backpack and twisted it so books began to fall out. ‘Oh you are such a clumsy girl.’

The three of them laughed at her. Jane shoved a note into the backpack. ‘This is your death sentence.’

A boy who saw what they were doing looked the other way and rushed by.

‘You are going to get what’s coming to you soon. Very soon. Sooner if you tell anyone about this. You understand.’ Jen backed her hard against the wall. ‘You understand?’

‘Yes.’

‘That’s a good girl.’ Laurie kicked Judy’s pens across the hall floor. ‘Be glad we take an interest in you.’

The three laughed again. The bell rang.

‘Shit we better get a move on.’

‘If we’re late because of you, shit face, it’ll be even sooner than you think.’

Judy stooped to pick up her scattered books & pens.

‘Having some trouble are we?’

Judy looked up. It was Mrs. Glasgow, the Math teacher.

‘Oh no, nothing I just dropped my backpack trying to get my … to get a …’ she could see the three girls at the end of the hall glaring at her. ‘Get my favourite pen.’

She stood up. Telling wouldn’t do her any good. Not now. Not ever. She’d be a snitch, a rat and no one would ever like her. Not that they did like her much now, but to rat on those girls would only make things worse for her. Much worse.

‘Get a move on then Judy.’

‘Yes Mrs G. I mean, Mrs. Glasgow.’

She scurried up the stairs, stopped to read the note. ‘Want to die faster? Do us a favour & save us the trouble.’ 

She got into her class just as the door closed.

‘Cutting it close again Judy? I don’t know what’s gotten into you.’

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every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked)
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