Nuggets, Vol. 3: Pop
Various Artists 
Label: Rhino Records – RNLP 027
Series: Nuggets – RNLP 027
Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Style: Garage Rock, Pop Rock
A1. Lies - The Knickerbockers (M)
A2. Sugar And Spice - The Cryan' Shames (M)
A3. I Feel Good (I Feel Bad) - The Lewis & Clarke Expedition (M)
A4. Sunshine Girl - The Parade (S)
A5. I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight - Boyce & Hart (S)
A6. Turn Down Day - The Cyrkle (S)
A7. You're A Very Lovely Woman - The Merry-Go- Round (S)
B1. Let Her Dance - The Bobby Fuller Four (S)
B2. Can I Get To Know You Better - The Turtles (S)
B3. Red Rubber Ball - The Cyrkle (S)
B4. Baby What I Mean - Spiral Starecase (M)
B5. Time Won't Let Me - The Outsiders (M)
B6. I Love You - People (S, long LP version)
B7. October Country - October Country (M)
mp3@320&scans 95 MB
Time Won't Let Me Via FF
While pop music of the mid-to-late 1960's brought far reaching change and experimentation, the vast majority of musicians were still trying to concoct good old fashioned, pop-oriented hit records. The San Francisco Sound was promoting turning on and dropping out, but many musicians from all over the country were more interested in becoming the next Beatles, while only marginally incorporating the more radical ideas going on around them. Yet, even on the most conventional rock band records of the era, subtle changes were evident: October Country and the Merry-Go-Round infused their work with classical arrangements; while such songs as the latter's "Live" and the Cyrkle's "Turn Down Day" expressed alienation and escape rather than the traditional boy-meets-girl themes. In the case of this POP volume (one), many of the groups were directly inspired by the Beatles. When the Knickerbockers made the charts with "Lies," many refused to believe that the group was from New Jersey, insisting it was the Beatles themselves. A listen to the Merry-Go-Round's "You're A Very Lovely Woman," re-calls"Yesterday," while the band's hip suits & bushy hair that of the Fab Four. Although the Cryan Shames with "Sugar and Spice" opted to cover a song by the Searchers, the Searchers were from Liverpool and had a similar Beatle-ish sound. Even the Turtles, who originally made their mark as a folk-protest rock band, were inspired by the Beatles to develop an acid-pop sound.Year in, year out, the list of hits grows prodigiously as current chart smashes fade into the realm of "oldies." Every pop music fan knows the big hits, but how about the little ones, or the non hits; how about the record that topped the charts in Boston, but received little airplay elsewhere? Many of these records made the far reaches of the national charts, but many not at all. Yet, just because a record was not a big hit, doesn't necessarily reflect its lack of quality. The Nuggets series is dedicated to discovering and compiling those relatively obscure hits, and those "hits" you never heard.
OCTOBER COUNTRY, and their self-titled single, are a typical example. Undeniably obscure, the record received enough Los Angeles airplay to outsell the Beatles one week at Hollywood's largest record store, Wallach's Music City. It's a great record, and typical of the "discoveries" that will comprise the selections on Nuggets. Although the resulting song may have given the Beatles a run for their money in a Los Angeles record store, it failed to generate much interest around the country, and a short time later, the group disbanded. Composer Michael Lloyd has remained October Country's most visable member, having worked with the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and Cotton, Lloyd and Christian, before moving behind the scenes as a successful record producer and songwriter.
Another band from Los Angeles was THE PARADE. For the most part, the group was composed of aspiring actors who were more intent on furthering their careers in TV than they were in music. The exception was leader Jerry Riopell, who wrote, arranged and produced their music, and who maintained visability in the 1970's with solo albums and performances. Because the group didn't tour, and because their completed album was never released, not many people outside of California heard their music.
Also from the area, THE MERRY-GO-ROUND made a big name for themselves locally, but never achieved success nationally. The quartet was led by Emitt Rhodes, ex-drummer of the Palace Guard (see volume 4). After a couple of years and a half dozen singles on A & M, Rhodes became a solo artist. Very Beatle-rooted, his acclaimed 1970 debut LP was very favorably compared with Paul McCartney's first solo album, both in sound, and in playing-all-the-instruments approach. Rhodes later moved behind the scenes as a record company A & R man, and drummer Joel Larson joined the Grass Roots. Rhodes now operates a recording studio in the South Bay area.
PEOPLE had only one hit."I Love You", a cover of an obscure Zombies' album track that climbed to 14 in 1968. A couple of years later this San Jose band re-emerged with an almost entirely new line-up, and an album, "There Are People." North, in Sacramento, SPIRAL STARECASE were perfecting their Rascals influenced soul-pop approach. Although "More Today Than Yesterday" was their biggest hit, here we've opted for the more rollicking, rock band sound of "Baby What I Mean" (which, incidentally, was also recorded as the "B" side of "October Country.")
While new groups were springing up all over the West Coast, the East Coast was experiencing a similar reaction. The CYRKLE received considerable attention, as they were Beatles manager Brian Epstein's first American singing; he quickly added them to the Beatles 1966 tour package. The Cyrkle are remembered also for their two catchy Top 40 hits, "Red Rubber Ball," penned by Paul Simon, and "Turn Down Day," written by Jerry ("Here Comes Summer") Keller. After Brian Epstein died, the band was left with little direction, and the members broke up the band a short time thereafter.
THE KNICKERBOCKERS relied on an energetic, very Beatle-ish sound, that clicked with "Lies." An affable bunch who received lots of TV exposure, their appearance was disappointing, looking more like an early 60's New Jersey lounge band (which they were) then a hip Beatles-era rock band.
Saxist Buddy Randell (previously with the Royal Teens) and drummer Jimmy Walker developed as solo artists, with the latter filling in briefly for Bill Medley when he took time off from the Righteous Brothers.
At the same time, the Midwest was also developing its own share of quality rock bands, including Chicago's CRYAN SHAMES, whose biggest record was "Sugar and Spice." Although the single only charted at 49 nationally, it caught the attention of Columbia Records, which signed the band and stood behind its subsequent releases, None quite had the appeal of "Sugar and Spice," however, and eventually the group was dropped from the label. Cleveland's THE OUTSlDERS enjoyed success for awhile, despite having a name that made them sound like they were on the outside looking in. During 1966 they racked up a remarkable four Top 40 records, but that was the extent of their chart activity. "Time Won't Let Me," their first single, was the only one that managed to break into the Top Ten. Although the group was forgotten by the 1980's, singer Sonny Geraci resurfaced as a member of Climax, which recorded the million-seller "Precious and Few."
For the most part, groups like the ones mentioned were straight-ahead, no frills rock bands. THE LEWIS & CLARK EXPEDITION were an exception, however. They wraped themselves in buckskin, and reeked of the Wild West, both in name and in dress. The group was best known for being the only other rock group to be pictured on Colgems Records' innersleeves that jacketed millions of Monkees albums. Their first record,I Feel Good (I Feel Bad)," exemplified the band's good-time, party personality. The record only mid-charted nationally, but Lewis & Clark persevered. Boomer Castleman became one of Nashville's top session musicians and later hit the Top 40 with "Judy Mae"; Michael Martin Murphy recorded several pop and country hits, including the million-selling "Wildfire."
Also related to the Monkees, were the group's main songwriting/production team, BOYCE & HART, who provided them with hits like "Last Train to Clarksville" and "Valleri." "If they can do it, so can we," and they did too, with "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight," which climbed to number eight in the winter of 1968. For the most part, the duo were more successful as writers/producers, so the Boyce & Hart "artist" concept was short lived, although they joined ex-Monkees' Dolenz and Jones, and recorded and toured in the 70's as "Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart."
THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR was originally from Dallas, but relocated to Hollywood, where they became a very popular club band. A listen to their best work (available on Rhino RNDF 201) reveals what might well have been the state-of-the-art of rock recording for that period. "Let Her Dance," included here, preceded "I Fought the Law," and was the record that established the band in Los Angeles. Phil Seymour thought enough of the song to record it in the 1980's. Unfortunately Bobby's vast promise was stopped short when he was found dead of mysterious circumstances. Group member, (and Bobby's brother) Randy tried to keep the band going under his own name, but when that failed, the remaining musicians went their separate ways. The final band included in this compilation is THE TURTLES, who were undoubtedly one of the most popular acts of the 1960's. Although the group had a ton of hits, they also released a number of single? that sound like they should've been hits, bur only managed various regional play. Such was "Can I Get to Know You Better," a bonifide Top Tenner in the group's native Los Angeles, that only managed an 89 nationally. The song came in the transition slot between the early hits, "It Ain't Me Babe" — "You Baby" and the second phase of the band's career that was kicked off by "Happy Together." While the sound of these records definitely recalls the 1960's at the same time that sound is sneaking back onto the charts. The Go-Go's records sound like they were made in the 1960's, the Romantics are clearly rooted in the era, and the Bangles second album features a close copy of the Merry-Go-Round's "Live." It seems likely that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg, and that in the not-so-distant future the elements that made up this period will once again become part of the contemporary rock scene.