Posts Tagged ‘Beach Boys’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/13/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Did You See?” by John Simon

John Simon’s 1970 debut album for Warner Brothers, called John Simon’s Album, was a culmination of the many album projects he produced over the two years it took to record. While a staff producer at Columbia Records, Simon produced such classics as Simon & Garfunkel’s Bookends, Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills, Leonard Cohen’s Songs By Leonard Cohen, Blood Sweat & Tears’ Child Is Father To The Man, The Electric Flag’s self-titled debut album and The Cyrkle’s Paul Simon-penned hit “Red Rubber Ball.”

Simon met Albert Grossman through his work with Peter Yarrow on the film You Are What You Eat, who in turn introduced him to The Band. Simon helped them negotiate their record contract with Capitol and produced their first two albums, Music From Big Pink and The Band.  He also produced Mama Cass Elliot’s “Dream A Little Dream Of Me,” Peter Paul & Mary’s Late Again, Seals And Croft’s Down Home and Gordon Lightfoot’s Did She Mention My Name for other labels.

Simon was also a prolific session musician, participating on records by Howlin’ Wolf, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, John Hartford, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and Dave Mason. He even played the tuba on The Band’s “Rag Mama Rag.”

So it should come as no surprise that when Simon set out to record his debut album, many of his musical friends including Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, Delaney Bramlett, Leon Russell, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Jim Price, Rita Coolidge and Bobby Whitlock joined in the recording sessions.

It easy to play spot the influence all over this album and you can hear elements of Randy Newman’s quirkiness and Brian Wilson’s psychedelia on “The Elves’ Song,” “Railroad Train Runnin’ Up My Back” and today’s Song Of the Day, ”Did You See?,” which sounds like a lost outtake from The Beach Boys’ Friends album. There are echoes of BS&T on the horn-fueled “Tannenbaum,” and “Davey’s On The Road Again,” (which was co-written by Robbie Robertson) and hints of The Band’s own brand of Americana on tracks like “Rain Song” and “Don’t Forget What I Told You.”

It’s hard to tell why neither of Simon’s albums on Warner Bros. did any significant  business, but they both stand up well next to the classic albums of the era that he produced. Simon sporadically continued to produce albums through the years, most notably Steve Forbert’s Jackrabbit Slim, The Band’s Islands and The Last Waltz, Bobby Charles’ Small Town Talk, Al Kooper’s Act Like Nothing’s Wrong and the cast album of Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. He also released several more solo albums throughout the years.

Edited: March 12th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 12/27/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Requiem For John Hurt” by John Fahey

I buy most of my music these days on line. I either purchase from Amazon where I can take advantage of free shipping, eBay where I can score clean copies of used records or directly from record labels like Polyvinyl and Third Man Records.

Earlier today I got a rush and went down to a small independent record store in Barrington, Illinois called Rainbow Records with my friend. I had been to Rainbow once before on Black Friday Record Store Day and thought the store was pretty cool, so I made a mental note to come back again sometime.

Rainbow Records is owned by a fellow record geek named John Thominet, who is the fifth owner of the store that began in the 1970s. While there, I picked up a few used records including Tim Buckley’s first album (which I’ve never owned on vinyl) and a 1970 live double album by The Butterfield Blues Band. I also purchased The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls Live” (Houston Texas 1978) which is seeing its first release on vinyl, and a reissue of John Fahey’s 1968 album “Requia and other compositions for guitar solo.”
I had been interested in the Fahey album, because I love his solo guitar playing and it also includes an experimental four-part piece called “Requiem For Molly” which takes up most of side two and is not unlike The Beatles’ “Revolution No. 9” with solo guitar interspersed throughout the montage. Today’s Song Of The Day is the album’s lead-off track that pays tribute to Mississippi John Hurt, who had at the time recently passed away. John Fahey on this track: “He was in his quiet way, a very great man, and I deeply mourn our loss of him. So, I wrote this requiem for him, about him, but I play it the way Charley Patton would have played it.”

But I got a lot more than records during my visit to the store…I got a great atmosphere and the feeling of community (similar to that of our weekly vinyl gathering at a local bar), but in a record store setting with people of all ages. There were a couple of teenagers at the store who were buying records that I generally take for granted because I’ve had them for so long. Through their eyes, records like an original pressing of Steely Dan’s “Can’t Buy A Thrill” and The Clash’s “Sandinista” were real finds. I really dug the genuine enthusiasm coming from these young record collectors…they reminded me of…well, me…

With the store’s owner and my buddy John also chiming in on the conversation, we were having a great time together. And with prices that are comparable to what I normally spend on eBay for records, that feeling of community, my friends, is something you can’t possibly get on line.

Edited: December 27th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/29/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “You’re So Good To Me” by Debra Swisher

She was originally the lead singer of Pennsylvania girl group The Pixies Three whose Mercury Records single “Birthday Party” made it into the top 40 in 1963. Then she met up with the production group of Jerry Goldstein, Bob Feldman and Richard Gottehrer who produced and wrote the hits “My Boyfriend’s Back” for The Angels, “I Want Candy” by The Strangeloves (who were marketed as a group from Australia but were in fact Goldstein, Feldman and Gottehrer themselves) and “Hang On Sloopy” by The McCoys. When they met up with Swisher in 1966, they decided to record her covering this Beach Boys classic…and another garage gem was born. Criminally, the single didn’t get any chart action and she went on to join The Angels. Richard Gottehrer went on to launch the legendary Sire Records label with Seymour Stein who recorded everyone from the Ramones to Madonna to Talking Heads.

Edited: March 28th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 12/6/11







Song Of The Day – “Hot Rod High” by The Knights

Here’s a follow up to yesterday’s post by The Super Stocks. Once again, it’s Gary Usher and company from 1964 giving The Beach Boys a run for their money. The song was even co-written by Beach Boys collaborator Roger Christian. The expert backing was provided by The Wrecking Crew including Glen Campbell and Tommy Tedesco on guitars, Leon Russell on keyboards and Hal Blaine on drums whose work can be heard on hundreds of ’60s hits. This song was also recorded by The Hondells, The Super Stocks and The Surfaris…probably using the very same backing track.

Edited: December 6th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 12/5/11







Song Of The Day – “Draggin’ Deuce” by The Super Stocks

The Beach Boys weren’t the only game in town on Capitol Records in the early ’60s when it came to surf and hot rod tunes. There were numerous groups like The Kickstands, The Knights, The Hondells, The Superstocks and Mr. Gasser and the Weirdos…and they all had one member in common…Gary Usher. Usher was Brian Wilson’s first outside collaborator in the Beach Boys with writing credits on “In My Room,” “409″ and the “Lonely Sea.” He also produced tracks for The Byrds, Dick Dale, Chad & Jeremy, The Surfaris, Sagittarius and the Firesign Theater. Here are the official version and the demo for The Super Stocks’ “Draggin’ Deuce.”

Edited: December 5th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 11/4/11

Song Of The Day – “Surf’s Up” by The Beach Boys

After 45 years, the legendary “SMiLE” sessions from 1967 have finally surfaced. The session tapes languished in the vaults due to Brian’s fading confidence in himself and a lack of support from the group. Consisting of hundreds of musical segments, the record became an editing nightmare. For those of us who have coveted our session bootlegs over the years, this is a release of seismic proportions.

Edited: November 4th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 8/6/11

Song Of The Day – “The Warmth Of The Sun” by The Beach Boys

This song is as close to perfection as it gets. Gossamer harmonies…incredible lyrics…music that superbly captures the mood. One of their best recordings reflecting a simpler time for the band…and the world.

Edited: August 5th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 1/13/11

Song Of The Day – “Ann” by Glen Campbell from the album “Wichita Lineman”

Glen Campbell cut his teeth as an in-demand Los Angeles session guitarist playing on countless hits by The Monkees, The Mamas & The Papas, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.  He became a touring member of the Beach Boys in 1965 when Brian Wilson could not go on the road anymore, leaving in 1967 to continue his own solo career and to launch a variety show on TV.  Of course, we all know the myriad of hits he’s scored on his own…”Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Gentle On My Mind,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Rhinestone Cowboy”…to name but a few. This 1968 album cut was written by country artist Billy Ed Wheeler, and while not a chart hit, is considered one of Campbell’s classics.

Edited: January 13th, 2011