Album Reviews

Singles Staying Single: The Sundazed Records Singles Collection

sundazed.jpg

We love Sundazed Records, and with the summertime arriving today, they’ve got plenty of singles for your summertime dance party! Let’s check ‘em out…

tropics

The Tropics hailed from Florida, specialized in British Invasion-inspired rock and roll, releasing a handful of singles before calling it quits. There’s definitely a Stones vibe going on with the A-Side, “You Better Move,” with lead singer Mel Dryer going quite crazy, with all the volatility of a broken electrical line. The flip mellows things down greatly; a pretty ballad, “It’s You I’ll Miss,” sounds eons away from the previous number. Pretty, but in tough company with that utterly smoking lead single.

the electric prunes

The Electric Prunes, like so many American bands, found themselves somewhat befuddled and overwhelmed by the British Invasion. So these two outtakes from 1996 find them experimenting with the style. The A-Side, “I’ve Got A Way of My Own,” is their take on a lesser-known song by The Hollies, and it really isn’t bad! The flip, “World of Darkness,” is their attempt to write a song in The Beatles’ style. It’s interesting, and not bad, but the band sort of realized that they shouldn’t try to be someone they weren’t, and quickly abandoned the idea of imitation. Good thing, too; their second single, “I Had Too Much To Dream( Last Night)” sounded like very little that came before it, and has become not just a Sixties classic, but also a cornerstone of psychedelic rock in general. Good thing they decided to be themselves!

livingchildren

Living Children is a bit of a mystery; the band hailed from the northern California town of Fort Bragg and came and went with one super-rare single to their name, and it’s a good thing someone took the time to find this little nugget. Released in 1968, “Crystalize Your Mind” has a walking beat, and dives straight into blues rock territory, and it’s merely OK. The flip, however, is the real winner; “Now It’s Over” is a low-key, dark folk rock number, complete with gorgeous harmonies and remind me less of the more natural comparison point of The Byrds, sounding more like the headier moments of Pink Floyd. What happened to the band? Who knows?

thingstocome

Steve Runolfsson, frontman of Things To Come, had a powerful, potent singing style that was part bluesman, part demon. That his band would accent their music with an organ not unlike Them, it didn’t matter; “Sweetgina” sounding like “Gloria” doesn’t matter, either; it’s a potent rocker, a bit blues, a bit rock, and all kinds of lusty. “Speak of the Devil” is darker, and with its invocation of the evil one over a haunting church organ rhythm, it’s simply insane.

imaman

Chicago’s favorite sons The Buckinghams really need no introduction; the group’s hit, “Kind Of A Drag” is an oldies radio staple fifty years on, and though their lesser hits don’t get the same amount of airplay, they’re still highly regarded in 60s rock circles. The a-side of this single is one helluva take on Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man,” complete with an awesome extended instrumental jam, while the b-side is a different mix of “Don’t Want To Cry,” which is pretty intense as well—apparently the official version was tamed of its wildness. It’s impossible to sit still listening to these numbers.

foggynotions

The Foggy Notions, also from Chicago, took on the popular sounds of the day. “Need A Little Lovin’” sounds like the boys were listening to The Beatles and “Ticket To Ride,” and decided to do it themselves, complete with twelve-string guitars and great harmonies. Rough, but there’s definitely something there. The flip side,  “Take Me Back And Hold Me,” is a pure Stones-style rocker, complete with Brian Jones-style harmonica licks that can’t be beat. Not a bad little listen, really.

dave myers

Last, but certainly not least, we bring you Dave Myers & His Surftones. As you can gather, they’re the sole surf band offering here, and this is a reissue of their sole 45 release. “Gear,” the A-side, is a rough and tumble surf instrumental, written by Gary Usher,  Brian Wilson collaborator and surf music composer extraordinaire. Flip it over and you’ve got a great party version of 1950s soul hit, “Let The Good Times Roll,” complete with horn section. It’s a party anthem that’s just waiting for you to turn it up for the rest of the room. Enjoy!

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3 replies »

      • Yeah, I saw you’re Sundazed coverage and thought you might be familiar, he wrote for Who Put the BOMP back in the day and at 17 while still in high school was writing articles and somehow convinced the college in Buffalo to host the infamous ‘Rock Writers Symposium’ in 1974. He was an unspoken about inspiration for ‘Almost Famous’. If you have a passion for the ‘lost art’ of music writing, look to his work. Cheers man!

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