Archive for the ‘GNP Crescendo’ Category

The Seeds

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Can’t Seem To Make You Mine / The Seeds

Listen: Can’t Seem To Make You Mine / The Seeds
11 Can't Seem To Make You Mine.mp3

GNP Crescendo not only possessed a great label name, turns out they were one of the small indies with enough taste to issue several of their singles in quality color picture sleeves. Biggest sellers, The Seeds, certainly benefitted most.

Not unlike London’s maraca drenched blues knockoffs epitomized the English sound, The Seeds ruled roost as to what life sounded like in L.A., at least to a little kid growing up in small town New York State.

Never did I hear The Seeds on daytime radio when current, but certainly heard them at night. Whether by choice or reality, my recollection associates the band with summertime ’67, when The Seeds original debut single, ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ got re-released. Yes, late night, warm weather airplay, when the AM Top 40′s went all underground rock in the evenings. Those non hits by Lothar & The Hand People, Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Leaves and Country Joe & The Fish rubbed shoulders with The Seeds on every nighttime playlist that summer, both locally and as far off as WBZ from Boston and WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The band’s interest was peaking, certainly in the world of radio. Depending on the market, each were playing The Seeds, whether it being ‘Mr. Farmer’, ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’, their latest, most psychedelic record yet, ‘A Thousand Shadows’ or ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’.

Just imagine this intro beaming through my transistor for the first time. I tell you in all honesty, the memory is as plain as day. It, and the song, were one listens. I desperately needed the record on the spot.

Praise be, the thrill of finding it in my weekly pile of airplay rejects from WMCR that very Friday. Yet another single which didn’t fit into their adult, easy listening format, much to my miraculous luck.

Pianist Daryl Hooper, already carving the initial model of playing bass on a separate keyboard, not only dominated the overall sound of The Seeds, he also wrote some of their most powerful hooks, all based on simplicity. In my fantasy world, that break in ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ soundtracked driving through the desert by night, heading into the creepy unknown, speeding west on Route 66, just like The Doors long keyboard middle in ‘Light My Fire’. Hearing both for the first time, late on hot summer nights, clearly left deep impressions.

Don Fardon

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Listen: Indian Reservation / Don Fardon
Indian Reservation / Don Fardon

Believe it. Don Fardon, age 68, has a hit single in Holland. This very minute. A song called ‘Im Alive’. I heard it with my own ears just last week blaring out of The Bulldog coffee shop, aka legalized pot cafe, near Amsterdam’s American Hotel.

Years ago, Corinne and I visited for a long weekend. It was an irrational, last minute idea we got on a Friday morning and by evening, we were on some cheap KLM ticket out of Heathrow for said adventure. I was in London for several weeks at a patch back then, as Island was still UK based.

Saturday afternoon was spent working off my first Indonesian meal (gado gado) by digging for 45′s in the shops and outdoor flea market stalls near the American Hotel, the best place to stay even to this day. My collection is strictly US and UK pressings, but the rules do get bent for Dutch 7′s from the 60′s, especially those Decca/Deram ones in the generic picture sleeves, all with the same geometric layout yet using some very obscure band photos. Love those.

This was around November ’88, and shockingly, there were still plenty of nice items to snag. Amongst them The Attack ‘Colour Of My Mind’ in the Dutch sleeve. Very nice.

As the day wound down, Corinne wanted to try out a coffee shop, sample the brownies. Reluctantly, I agreed. The heavy dub reggae blaring onto the street convincing me to live a little.

Oh boy. Big mistake. One brownie didn’t seem to touch me, so I bought a second. No sooner was that down, and boom, the first one hit. Hard. Couldn’t get back to the hotel fast enough.

I always scurry past those coffee shops these days, even a flashback is too frightening a thought. But I was well pleased to hear Don Fardon from down the block last week.

Anything sounding remotely tribal has always caught my ear, and that’s how I kind of describe ‘Indian Reservation’. Not unlike Don Fardon’s first band, The Sorrows, and their UK hit, ‘Take A Heart’ before it. Both are heavy with original arrangements and stand out big time from most other releases during their respective time periods.

Shockingly, ‘Indian Reservation’ was a US hit (#20) as well as a British one (#3). Despite being on a small indie, I guess it picked up some airplay and broke through on quality.

The Seeds

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

A Thousand Shadows / The Seeds

Listen: A Thousand Shadows/ The Seeds

I often find myself referring to records as night time or winter. Chris Blackwell once said of Marianne Faithfull, “She’s very much a wintertime artist”, making me quite happy to hear I wasn’t the only one who thought that way. Probably stems from, particularly in the case of night time, when I’d hear the actual music the most, or at least initially.

With The Seeds, I have confidence I never heard them during the day, not once, when they were current. In the northeast, they only were played at night, when the playlists loosened up a bit. Funny, given that on the west coast, like Love and X, they were pretty much mainstream which came with being local. Those singles by The Seeds are just imprinted as night time records for me, and I like that. They have a darkness and mystery to them, every last one. All a bit menacing, due to the eerie keyboards mostly. Sky Saxon is one of a kind too, you just never mistake his voice. When ‘A Thousand Shadows’ was released in summer ’67, it coincided with my first ever radio show, Friday nights from 6 – 8 pm on the very small, very local AM station WMCR. I had successfully been blagging records off them for about two years at that point.

I lied. Told them I was from the local Children’s Hospital and seeking donations of their unplayed teen records, as their format was adult contemporary at the time. And I mean very adult, your parent’s music if you will: Mel Torme, Steve Lawrence, Eddie Fisher. We turned our nose at this stuff, but would go home and freak out to Scott Walker. In hindsight, it was pretty much the same sound but with a much better haircut admittedly. Mark Warner, then evening DJ while home from college for the summer, got me the job, I think, once he went back to school in the fall. His parents owned the station. They knew all along the donation drill was a scam, but figured they weren’t using the records anyways, and Mark’s Mom coined me that clever little boy that loves his music. That was the last time I ever heard that one, but bless her. I got a radio show out of it instead of being ratted on. Mind you, it only lasted a few weeks into the school year.

About seven years ago, December ’01 to be exact, when I went home to visit my Mom and Dad, I just drove by for the heck of it and decided to ring the bell. It was Christmas Eve, lo and behold, Mrs. Warner was there and still in charge! She was so sweet, welcomed me right inside. The place was pretty much the same, still had the two Gates turntables in the control room. She even took me downstairs to see what was left of the record library. “If you see something you really want now, I’m sure it won’t be missed”. All these years later, it just doesn’t get any better than this.

The Seeds were the first band I played, ever, on the radio. The theme of the show was to pretty much stick with the latest sounds from England, so how The Seeds got the first spin…but they did.