Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ain't It Hard

Garage and psychedelic rock have the tendency of being labeled indulgent and overtly extravagant, whether it be the excessive overdubs, large bands (Red Krayola boasted over 50 friends playing with the band on their "Free Form Freak-outs"), or simply the content of the music. Today's featured artist is southern California's The Gypsy Trips. This folk-rock band featured singer-songwriter Roger Tillison alongside his then-girlfriend Terrye Newkirk, who took Roger's last name as her stage name.

The only single released by Gypsy Trips was "Rock 'n Roll Gypsies" b/w "Aint It Hard." While the a-side was written soley by Roger, "Ain't It Hard" was credited to both Terrye and Roger. The song, produced and arranged by Leon Russell, features both Tillisons singing together over some gritty gutiar and bluesy piano. Fans of The White Stripes will hear this song as a blueprint of sorts for Jack and Meg White's sound.

A few years later, The Electric Prunes recorded a version of "Aint It Hard" for their debut single, but most people agree that Gypsy Trips' version is superior. Roger continued to make music, releasing a 1971 solo album, and also played with Leon Russell, Paul Butterfield, The Band, and John Cale.

Recently Roger Tillison recorded a pair of albums, Mamble Jamble, featuring original compositions and Songs For Woody, an album which features his take on many Woody Guithre numbers. Mamble Jamble's Japanese release also features a new rendition of "Rock 'n Roll Gypies," returning to his Gypsy Trips roots, roughly forty years later.

For more information on Roger Tillison, check out his official website.

Gypsy Trips
"Aint It Hard"
1965

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