Archive for the ‘Bang’ Category

The McCoys

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Listen: Beat The Clock / The McCoys

If ever there was a slogan, ‘Beat The Clock’ may take the cake. I guess it’s what we all try doing throughout life.

The McCoys had endless great singles. I don’t recall a bad one actually.

‘Beat The Clock’ was released spring ’67, and stumbled around the lower rungs of some radio playlists, only managing a pathetic peak of #92 nationally. Unlike with many of the garage bands and English groups nationally, there was a consistent loyalty toward their releases by the local Top 40′s in the northeast, certainly the upstate New York region. In this case, both Syracuse stations, WNDR and particularly WOLF, played every record by The McCoys. ‘Beat The Clock’ was no exception.

I still love the sound of time dripping by via the keyboard intro, and the continual return to it throughout the song.

The McCoys were one of the support acts to The Rolling Stones that previous summer, when they toured the AFTERMATH album. As a little kid, each moment was a lifetime of excitement, and The McCoys’ sing-a-long set was no exception. We all walked out of the place more addicted to The Rolling Stones than ever, but no short changing the other bands as a result. Every friend I knew went out and bought whichever McCoys records they could find within days.

The Exciters

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Exciters - Little Bit Of Soap

Listen: A Little Bit Of Soap / The Exciters ExcitersSoap.mp3

I’ve had this single for decades. It’s the version of ‘A Little Bit Of Soap’ that introduced me to the song in ’66. I know The Jarmels actually had the big success with it several years earlier, but I was in diapers. Now, when I occasionally hear it on an oldies program, it’s always that Jarmels version, which for me doesn’t compare to this. I guess it’s Brenda Reid, The Exciters’ vocalist, that makes the difference, as she has exactly the kind of voice I love. The Exciters were clearly a Brill Building type of act, having covered songs written by/been produced by/signed by so many of it’s familiar names: Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Bert Russell, Lieber & Stoller and Bert Berns.

In the 80′s, while working at Elektra, Bob Krasnow our chairman had signed Bert’s daughter, Cassandra Berns, and put me in charge of A&R-ing her project. This turned into a real stroke of luck as I got to spend time with the Berns family down in Atlanta and heard many stories of the great days at Bang Records, the label Bert formed with Ahmet & Nesuhi Ertegun and Jerry Wexler. His widow Eileen proceeded to run their record and publishing business after he passed away in ’67.

Eileen was an absolute firecracker. I liked her so much, especially when she generously walked me through their studio complex, littered with 50′s and 60′s jukeboxes, which I’m guessing Bert had collected; then into a big closet full of 45′s and said, “Take whatever you want”. Now that is just not what you tell a record junkie.

Bang and Shout (Bang’s offshoot label) obscurities galore and indeed, where this copy originated. Wisely, she had future Bang artists cover this, and many of their catalog’s songs, with continued success. ‘A Little Bit Of Soap’ charted twice more in later years by Nigel Olsson and Paul Davis both on Bang. One winter’s Saturday easily ten years ago, I gave it a spin for old time’s sake and was suddenly bitten by The Exciters bug which is not, by the way, treatable.

Neil Diamond

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Listen: Solitary Man / Neil Diamond NeilSolitaryMan.mp3

According to Wikipedia, Neil Diamond’s first single for Bang was released May 21, 1966. If so, then I love WOLF even that much more – they tipped it as Hit Bound on May 7 (see below). No joke, this was one hell of a radio station. I know several mid sized cities had them – the ‘other’ Top 40 that played many of the non hit RnB, British Beat and Garage records. Not only a God send, but I have a feeling, these were the stations that created the crazies like myself.

‘Solitary Man’ was a bit dark, or sad – something I still can’t quite put my finger on. It wasn’t his last to have that quality. ‘Shilo’ had it, ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’ did too. I hadn’t realized it fizzled out at #55 in Billboard that year, maybe because in ’70, when re-released by Bang after he’d left the label for a, by then, very successful run on UNI, ‘Solitary Man’ re-charted and peaked at #21. Bizarre, all those radio programmers that wouldn’t touch it originally now proving their stupidity by playing it a few years later. Justice.

Billboard Magazines

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

I got a fantastic email today from a reader in France, Bands Michel, who alerted me to a site whereby you can read just about every BILLBOARD from the 50′s, 60′s and onwards. These are mesmerizing. Scrolling through the weekly singles reviews whereby they predict records that will achieve Top 20, Top 60 or simply a ‘Chart’ placing alone is worth the visit. Most of the greats are in that later section, although many a ‘should have been a hit’ record features in the other two as well. Not to mention stunning full page tip sheet adds for singles by The Herd, The Who, Mary Wells, Scott Walker, Ike & Tina Turner, The Small Faces, multi artist adverts for Mercury, Okeh, Motown, Fontana, Deram, Ric Tic, Bang, Sue Records plus hundreds and hundreds more. Do yourself a favor: