Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Other Half

Since I've had my fill of Thanksgiving turkey and annoying mall shoppers (the holiday season seems to bring out the stupidity in people), I've decided its about time to return to Medicinal Music. A random maintenance notice: I've been getting some complaints about the downloading speeds @, if any readers have suggestions of similar uploading sites, please leave them in the comments section, or email me at

The Other Half was a California based garage/psych band from the mid-1960s. Featuring former members of Sons of Adam, including future Blue Cheer guitarist Randy Holden, the band is best known for their gritty contribution to the famous Nuggets compilation -"Mr. Pharmacist." But instead of covering their not-so-subtle ode to their drug dealer, today Medicinal Music will cover their ode to a girl with long black hair, aptly titled "Girl With The Long Black Hair."

"Girl With The Long Black Hair" owes more to the British r&b bands of the time than the acid drenched California psychedelic scene the band was immersed in. Lead singer Jeff Nowlen approaches the song with less abrasive bravado than "Mr. Pharmacist," instead singing in a subdued, yet assertive tone. Holden peppers the song with electric guitar licks, and the rest of the band fills out the song with some great backing vocals.

The Other Half
"Girl With The Long Black Hair"

Friday, November 18, 2005

Black Monk Time

Five former United States GIs, living in Germany, wearing black robes on stage and sporting tonsures - not exactly what you'd expect would be the recipe for groundbreaking proto-punk music, but The Monks did just that in 1966. Their only album, Black Monk Time, has benefited greatly from hindsight, measuring up to the standards set by other, more mainstream, acts of the time. For fans of 1960s garage/proto-punk rock, Black Monk Time is a must.

Energetic vocals, fuzztone bass, and experiments with guitar feedback are just a few of the things The Monks utilize to create their sound. It sounds like everything else from the mid sixties, yet like nothing like anything from the mid sixties. I know that is a complete contradiction and probably isn't the best way to explain the music, but that's all I got.

I have included a link for "Oh, How To Do Now," a song that highlights Gary Burger's vocals and a rhythm section that steadily chugs along for most of the song, only to pick up the tempo during the outro, which features some cool organ and guitar solos. I know I usually go a bit more indepth about the featured band and song, but The Monks have a fantastic official site that will give you a much better understanding of the band's history. Be sure to check it out.

The Monks
"Oh, How To Do Now"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Time To Clean Up

Just making a quite maintenance note (there will be a post later today): All of the .mp3 links from the month of September will be removed from the blog at the end of this week (Friday if I'm motivated, Sunday if I'm not). So if you are curious about any of the songs posted in September, download them while you can. I also want to remind everyone that these .mp3 links are for educational/previewing purposes only. If you enjoy what you hear, be sure to support those artists and the record labels that release their material by purchasing the real thing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Let's Roll Another One

After the insanity which was Medicinal Music's last post, I've decided to give my brain a breather and do a little simpler post. So, today, we're going to be covering an unreleased cut by my favorite era of Pink Floyd's history - the Syd Barrett era. I'm sure if you're reading this blog, you are familiar with Piper At The Gates of Dawn and the story of Syd Barrett, but I figure that some people may not have heard this b-side's original version, so here it is.

For Pink Floyd's first single, the band recorded "Arnold Layne," the story of a man with an affinity for stealing woman's clothing from washing lines. The song was much poppier than the material the band would play in concert, leaving some fans to claim the band sold out (which, in hindsight of the band's complete history, seems a bit absurd). But, it is the b-side of "Arnold Layne" that has a bit more interesting history around it.

"Candy And A Currant Bun" was originally "Let's Roll Another One," which, surprise, was a pretty blatant ode to smoking joints. Despite the increasing influence of the drug culture on the mainstream, Pink Floyd's record label, EMI, thought the song was a bit too provocative. To appease the EMI, Barrett reworked some of the lyrics, renaming it "Candy And A Currant Bun." This new recording had a bit slower tempo than the original, and Barrett, obviously unhappy having to amend his work, sneaks in a certain four letter word, which went unnoticed by the record execs. To hear this, pay close attention to "Candy And A Currant Bun" from :25-:30.

If you are interested in learning more about Syd Barrett, his experiences as a member of Pink Floyd and as a solo artist, I recommend Julian Palacios' book "Lost In The Woods." You can find information about the book, as well as read some excerpts, on Palacios' website.

Pink Floyd
"Lets Roll Another One"
1966 (unreleased)

Pink Floyd
"Candy And A Currant Bun"

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Agony of a Google Journalist

All I wanted to do was find some information about a song - "Hold On" by a North London band named Ipsissimus. The song is a fantastic proto-metal tune, with some great wah-wah guitar. It was released in 1969 by Parlophone Records and was produced by Norman Smith (the former Beatles engineer) and the legendary John Peel. I even found this photograph of the vinyl single, but no information about the band. After two hours of searching the internet for answers, I discovered two things - #1) the song was written by Rod Lynton, Gordon Haskell, and Howard Conder and #2) the British mid 60s psychedelic/garage scene was more incestuous than the Royal Family.

Numerous cigarettes and silent meditation was required to avoid my head from exploding while I tried to comprehend the twisted web which is the origins of the song "Hold On," and I am going to try my best to explain it to you. The first question you may have is "Who is Rod Lynton, Gordon Haskell, and Howard Conder?"

Let's start with Rod Lynton. Ron Lynton, whose original last name is Brosse, played guitar in the North London-based Extraverts, along with Steve Brendell. The Extraverts broke up, but Brendell and Lynton continued to make music, along with Ray Beverely, in Hard Edge. Hard Edge didn't last very long, and Sweet Feeling was birthed. Lynton handled the majority of songwriting duties for Sweet Feeling, earning the band management from the Robert Stigwood Agency. Their manager was (drum roll) Howard Conder.

Conder convinced Lynton to enter the studio with Chris (Tim) Andrews, who was the lead singer of Les Fleur De Lys to work on a new arrangement of the song "Charlie Brown," which would become "Reflections of Charlie Brown." Also playing at this session was organist Peter Solley, who later joined Procol Harum, which is ironic because "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" and "Reflections of Charlie Brown" were on the charts at the same time and oft-compared. Andrews brought the whole Les Fleur De Lys gang, including (drum roll) bassist Gordon Haskell, to the studio to cut "Reflections of Charlie Brown" and a new song (drum roll) "Hold On." This session was the conception of Rupert's People.

But it is not that simple. Les Fleur De Lys bailed, although they recorded a version of "Hold On" with Sharon Tandy singnig. This left Lynton and the rest of Sweet Feeling. Conder, being the businessman that he was, realized that Rupert's People had a single on the charts and a record deal, but there really wasn't a Rupert's People. So, Conder tried to put together a band to use the moniker. Sweet Feeling was approached but turned Conder down. Conder did convince Chris Andrews to leave his post as lead singer of Les Fleur De Lys to front Rupert's People. Andrews, Lynton, and Beverely were joined by Johnny Banks, Adrian Curtis, and Tony Dangerfield. Band had been a member of The Merseybeats, Curtis a member of The Knack, and Dangerfield was a member of Lord Sutch's Savages. Chris Andrews then left the group, to be replaced by Adrian's brother Paul Curtis, who was also a member of The Knack.

At this point Conder fired all of the band members, bringing in John Tout, David Jenkins, Steve Brendell. Brendell, if you remember from a few paragraphs ago, performed with Lynton in such bands as Extraverts, Hard Edge, Sweet Feeling, and the original line-up of Rupert's People. David Jenkins had spent much of the 1960s in bands with Pete Ham, most notably The Iveys (from 1964-67). The Iveys, if you remember, signed to The Beatles' Apple Records and released a handful of songs before being rechristened by Paul McCartney as Badfinger. John Tout would leave Rupert's People to replace John Hawken as Renaissance's keyboardist, but he would be reunited with Lynton and Brendell in 1971 where they were session player's for John Lennon's Imagine album.

Now, you may ask yourself, "What does this have to do with Ipsissimus?" Outside of it being the origins of the song they covered for their first single, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I still have no idea who was in Ipsissimus, if they preferred butter or jelly on their toast, or any of the other important aspects of the band. Despite not having much historical information about the band, check out the song. IT ROCKS!

This obnoxiously long, complex post wouldn't have been made possibly without help from this site about the insanity which was the rotating lineup of Les Fleur De Lys, as well as this article about Rupert's People. I swear there are points where these two articles (as well as many others on the internet) contradict each other, as well as points where there are holes in the story, but they are both super informative, whereas this post is probably just confusing and inaccurate.

Below you can check out the three version of "Hold On" - one from Rupert's People, one from Les Fleur De Lys feat. Sharon Tandy on vocals, and Ipsissimus' version. Were the songs worth the length of the post and which were the best - those are questions you can answer, I'm dont answering questions.

Rupert's People
"Hold On"

Les Fleur De Lys feat. Sharon Tandy
"Hold On"

"Hold On"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Don't Blow Your Mind

One of my favorite parts of listening to 60s garage/psych music is discovering lesser known bands that feature musicians who achieved mainstream success later in their career. In a previous post, The Moving Sidewalks has been cover (which featured members of ZZ Top), as well as pre-King Crimson band, Brain.

Today's featured song is written by Dennis Dunaway and Vincent Furnier, "Don't Blow Your Mind." If those name don't ring a bell, perhaps Furnier's pseudonym will - Alice Cooper. Both Dunaway and Furnier were members of the classic Alice Cooper lineup, with Dunaway playing bass and Furnier being, well, Alice Cooper.

This song was recorded in 1966 by The Spiders, who, in addition to Dunaway and Furnier, included drummer John Speer and future Alice Cooper guitarist Michael Bruce. "Don't Blow Your Mind" is a nice pre-punk gem. Sounding like a fuzzier Shadows of Knight, The Spiders guitars and drumming gives the song a much more aggressive sound than Furnier's vocals. Furnier sometimes sounds in-your-face and inspired, but also tends to have the stoned lethargic sensibilities that you'd imagine a song entitled "Don't Blow Your Mind" would have.

The Spiders
"Don't Blow Your Mind"