Category Archives: Sounds

50 years ago: Underground Sunshine

Underground Sunshine band photo

50 years ago, in 1969, the members of a garage band from Montello, a small town in south-central Wisconsin, went on the ride of their lives.

Early that year, Underground Sunshine was playing teen dances, roadhouses and clubs across the southern half of Wisconsin. Jack’s, along U.S. Highway 12 in Baraboo, was one such place. The Airway Bar in Marshfield was another. The Oconomowoc Teenage Republican Club dance at the Oconomowoc High School gym was another such gig.

But by summer, Underground Sunshine’s cover of the Beatles’ “Birthday” was all over the radio. The rocket was lit.

Wednesday, May 28, 1969

Underground Sunshine signs a recording contract with Mercury Records, which plans to release “Birthday” on its Intrepid label.

Tuesday, June 3, 1969

“Birthday” is released on Intrepid. (The 7-inch, Intrepid 75002, is out of print, as are all of Underground Sunshine’s recordings.)

Here’s the flip side. “All I Want Is You” is an original by band members Berty Koelbl, Frank Koelbl and Rex Rhode, all classmates at Montello High School. It’s clearly influenced by the Outsiders’ “Time Won’t Let Me.” There’s also a pleasant enough pop-psych jam in the middle.

Single version, stripped down

LP version with a more polished sound

Thursday, June 26, 1969

Underground Sunshine plays the first park teen dance of the summer at the Vilas Park Shelter in Madison.

Sunday, June 29, 1969

Underground Sunshine plays a midday show — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — at the Gimbels store at the Hilldale Shopping Center in Madison. (The top photo is from an ad for that gig.)

The first week of July 1969

Underground Sunshine plays a week-long stand at the Club Sahara, a nightclub on the east side of Green Bay. Warren Gerds, the young entertainment writer for the local paper, the Press-Gazette, profiles the band for the lead item in his column. He also writes a feature story on its light man.

What follows are Gerds’ column lead and excerpts from his feature story on the light man, published two days apart.

Thursday, July 3, 1969

What has happened to the Underground Sunshine is what all young rock and roll groups dream about: Quick success.

Two years ago, the Montello, Wisconsin, band didn’t exist. Come August, it will be pulling in $1,000 a night.

How come? “We’ve got a fabulous manager,” leader Berty Koelbl said during a break at Club Sahara. Berty said [Jon Little of WISM radio (Madison)] considerably changed the fortunes of his group.

“He gave us places to play. He knows a lot of club owners.”

It was also Little who suggested the rock quartet record “Birthday,” a Beatles song. The Underground Sunshine version hasn’t made the Green Bay charts yet, but it’s No. 30 in Milwaukee.

Berty said “Birthday” is helping bolster his band’s pocketbook. “Before ‘Birthday,’ we were getting $150 a night. Soon we’ll be up to $1,000,” he said. The band is getting $800 a week at the Club Sahara because it signed for that figure three months ago, Berty said.

Underground Sunshine’s “Birthday” is also bolstering the Beatles’ till at the rate of two cents a record. That’s the price for rights to the song.

Berty said his group’s version is different from the Beatles’. “First, there’s the organ lead, which the Beatles didn’t use. We also brought the singing up louder.”

Berty said he has qualms about “Birthday.” “People have been hearing another version of the Beatles,” he said. “It’s always better to record your own material.”

That’s what Berty intends to do at the next record cutting session, which will be held in a few weeks. Berty’s composition “Take Me, Break Me,” will be cut then. He also wrote “All I Want Is You,” which is on the flip side of the current record.

It is Berty’s aim to add more original songs so the group can create its own image.

“Right now, we don’t play much original stuff — only two songs. But within a month, we’ll be doing two-hour routines, and probably 90 percent of it will be our own material … except for “Birthday” because that’s what gave us the start.”

Aside from Berty on bass guitar and vocals, the band consists of Berty’s brother, Frank, drums; a relation of manager Jon Little, Janie Little, organ; Rex Rhode, lead guitar; and Bruce Brown, lights.

The idea for the light man came from watching Milwaukee and Chicago groups, Berty said. “I got tired of pushing my foot down on the floor for lights,” he said.

Bruce Brown at the switchboard.Saturday, July 5, 1969

Bruce Brown, 18, operates the unique switchboard for the lighting system.

As sort of visual accompanist, Bruce manipulates light switches to the tempos of rock music. The result of his effort is like watching a miniature, rhythmic, multicolored lightning storm.

Other rock groups have lighting systems, but none quite so complex that they need a special man to run them.

Brown is in charge of $600 worth of electrical equipment. The custom-made switchboard controls the strobe (quick-flashing) and black lights and 16 multicolored lights in four banks.

Two of the four-light banks flank the band, and the other two face it. Brown sits off to one side, behind an amplifier.

“I work with the feeling of the song most of the time,” Brown said. “Sometimes I work with the rhythm of the song, and sometimes I don’t. It depends on the song.”

Brown said he got his job by hanging around the Underground Sunshine players while they were practicing. “They just wanted more lights on them, and I was always around them.”

“They used to practice in the lead guitarist’s basement, and I used to work their lighting system, just to get them in the mood,” Brown said. “It was something to do, rather than be on the street.”

The switchboard was built with the aid of Brown’s father, who is an electrician.

“We all got together and worked out what we wanted. It took an afternoon to do that and two other days to make the switchboard.”

He has been doing his light work for a year.

Saturday, Aug. 2, 1969

Underground Sunshine appears with Dick Clark on ABC’s “American Bandstand,” having flown to Hollywood to tape an appearance earlier in the week. They play “All I Want Is You” and then “Birthday,” of course.

[If the video doesn’t queue up properly, start it at 26:10.]

Underground Sunshine’s main lineup appears on the show. The Koelbl brothers — stage names Berty Kohl and Frank Kohl — are on bass and drums, respectively. Berty is just about to turn 20. Frank is 21. Chris Connors, whose real name was John Dahlberg, plays lead guitar. He’s 22. He’d just joined the band, having auditioned after answering an ad in the Milwaukee Journal. They needed a lead guitarist because Rhode had quit in a dispute over equipment. Jane Little, whose real name was Jane Whirry, plays keyboards. She’s 18 and just out of high school.

“The group was outfitted by The Hub in Madison before their trip to the ABC color studios,” the Capital Times newspaper of Madison reported. The Hub was a clothing store.

That night, Underground Sunshine plays a gig at the Armory in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. After that, the band heads to Chicago for recording sessions.

Saturday, Aug. 9, 1969

KGV Summer Music Festival adIn July, the Green Bay writer reports: “Because of the success of the record, the band has signed a contract to play with the nationally-known Vanilla Fudge in an August concert at Pittsburgh.”

The Shower of Stars show, part of the KGV Summer Music Festival, takes place at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh.

Underground Sunshine gets third billing behind Vanilla Fudge and Illusion but is listed ahead of Andy Kim, Joe Jeffrey and “other acts.”

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 1969

Underground Sunshine plays the “Dance of the Summer” at Memorial Hall in Racine.

Saturday, Sept. 6, 1969

Underground Sunshine’s cover of “Birthday” peaks at No. 26 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. It’s a big hit in the late summer of 1969. It reaches No. 2 on the Hit Parade at WLS radio in Chicago in mid-August, but can’t displace the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman.”

Thursday, Sept. 18, 1969

Underground Sunshine’s follow-up single, a cover of Bread’s “Don’t Shut Me Out,” backed with “Take Me, Break Me,” an original, is out this week. It peaks at No. 102.

Here’s that single.

Here’s the LP version of the flip side, 11-plus minutes of jamming, rambling and noodling.

After the single’s release, the group sets out on a tour of the South, then plans to take a little time off.

November 1969

Underground Sunshine releases its only album, “Let There Be Light,” on Intrepid. Only two of its eight songs are originals. On the rest, they cover the Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival twice, along with Bread and the Spencer Davis Group. It was recorded at Ter-Mar Recording Studios — more commonly known as Chess Studios — at 2121 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago.

Friday-Saturday, Dec. 5-6, 1969

Underground Sunshine is back at Jack’s on Highway 12 in Baraboo.

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 1969

Underground Sunshine plays at a teen dance at the Cow Palace at the Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds Park in Fond du Lac.

The rest of the story

“Birthday” was the only hit for Underground Sunshine, which in late 1969 and sometime in 1970 released two other singles that went nowhere in the charts.

Their third single was an original, “9 to 5 (Ain’t My Bag),” written by Dave Wayne (real name Dave Waehner), who’d replaced Jane Little on keyboards.

The last of their singles was a cover of “Jesus Is Just Alright,” which was covered by the Byrds in 1969 and by the Doobie Brothers in 1972.

The end

Underground Sunshine broke up in 1970. The rocket had flamed out.

Why? When Wisconsin music historian Gary E. Myers interviewed the band members 26 years ago, in 1993, there was no consensus. Money problems, with some making too much and others not enough. Too much weed being smoked. Boy-girl problems, including too many groupies.

Some 20 years after the breakup, the Koelbl brothers and Rhode revived Underground Sunshine for a short time.

“(Underground Sunshine) gave us a lot of opportunities and I had a lot of great experiences. Got to see a lot of the country. Got to see a lot of different things,” Frank Koelbl told Myers in 1993.

“It’s been a very, very good learning experience. Even the way it was done, I would not trade anything for it,” Bert Koelbl told Myers in 1993.

 

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Filed under November 2019, Sounds

It’s all too much

50 years ago, as September turned to October in 1969, Green Bay was waiting for the Beatles.

It had been almost a year since the Beatles’ previous LP, the one they called “The Beatles” and the one everyone else called The White Album.

The Stiller Company, which had long sold records from its music department, in late September promised the “new Beatle LP” and listed a release date of Friday, Oct. 3. But Oct. 3 apparently came and went without that new Beatles record. For the next two weeks, the “new Beatle L.P.” was “coming soon!”

The Beatles’ new record apparently finally arrived in Green Bay sometime in the third week of October 1969, when the Stiller Co. ad listed the new “Beatle L.P.” as being in stock along with new albums from The Band, Tom Jones and, uh, one Laura Nyrol.

The new Beatles record, of course, was “Abbey Road.” Imagine, just imagine, the anticipation for that.

Fast forward 50 years to today. The recently reissued 50th anniversary “Abbey Road” shot up to No. 1 in the UK and to No. 3 here in the States. Apparently quite a bit of anticipation for that, too. Or was that just marketing hype?

I think I’m good with my copy of “Abbey Road,” which I bought used decades ago. (Mine appears to be a pressing from the Capitol Records plant in Jacksonville, Fla., though not a first pressing.)

I don’t want or need any of the seven formats in which it’s been reissued, though I hope my friend Timebomb Tom sells a bunch of them:

  • Super deluxe edition with three CDs and a Blu-Ray, plus a book
  • Double CD set with a second disc of demos and outtakes
  • Single CD with just the stereo remix
  • Triple LP box set with two additional discs of demos and outtakes
  • Single LP with just the stereo remix
  • Single picture disc LP with just the stereo remix
  • Super Deluxe digital audio, with 40 tracks to stream or download in hi-res 96kHz/24 bit audio

Though I have always loved the Beatles and will always love the Beatles …

Though I have a dozen Beatles records (and have sold “Live at the Star-Club” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, Volumes 1 and 2”) …

Though I have a bunch of wonderful Beatles memorabilia, particularly “Yellow Submarine” stuff, much of it given as gifts …

Though I recently bought rough, loved-to-death $1 copies of six Beatles LPs, including what appears to be a first Jacksonville pressing of “Abbey Road” …

I think I’m good with most everything Beatles now, too.

Janet just smiled when I said that to her the other day.

At some point, you have to say it’s all too much.

… Though I still want to visit Liverpool and London and stroll across the Abbey Road crosswalk some day.

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Filed under October 2019, Sounds

The timelessness of protest

You don’t need me to tell you what’s going down in this country these days. You know what the score is.

Did you say you’re a public servant?
Well, then let me ask you why
You’re keeping the public uninformed
When you’re not feedin’ us with lies

Listen to our founding fathers
Sit down and read the Bill of Rights
You’d better learn how to play the game by the rules
Or you’re gonna have an awful fight

Sounds a lot like today, right?

This is Chi Coltrane, the singer and pianist most know from the hit single “Thunder and Lightning,” dropping some thunder and lightning on the president in 1972.

There it is, the timelessness of protest.

‘Cause I will not dance to your music
And I will not drink your wine
And I will not toast to your success
Because you’re no friend of mine, oh yeah, you know it
You’re no friend of mine

Nope, no friend of mine then, no friend of mine now.

“I Will Not Dance,” Chi Coltrane, from “Chi Coltrane,” 1972.

This was from Coltrane’s debut LP. So what happened to Chi Coltrane?

After “Let It Ride,” the follow-up LP, came out in 1973, Coltrane recorded sporadically. In 1977, she moved to Europe, where she found a more passionate following and released three records during the ’80s. Her last LP of new material was “The Message,” one of those European releases, in 1986. She returned to Los Angeles in 1993 and built a recording studio.

Ten years ago, in 2009, Coltrane resumed performing. That year, she also released a career retrospective comp with three new songs. In 2012, she released a live CD of a “comeback concert” in Vienna on her own label.

Now 70, Coltrane remains popular in Europe, particularly Switzerland and Germany, playing shows there as recently as last year.

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Filed under September 2019, Sounds

It was anything but nirvana

Seen today on Twitter.

After “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit the radio in the fall of 1991, I vividly remember the first time I heard it.

It came on the radio while I was sitting in the car, parked outside Osco Drug and the old Port Plaza Mall in downtown Green Bay.

My immediate reaction, for better or worse: “What the f*ck is this?”

It was the first time that I felt disconnected from what was on the radio. I was no kid anymore, but I wasn’t middle-aged, either. I was 34, just 10 years old than Kurt Cobain.

It was a time during which everything I loved about music seemed to be unraveling.

The radio, my close friend for more than 20 years, no longer spoke to me.

MTV, a joy to watch just 10 years earlier, was evolving into just another conventionally programmed TV channel.

Vinyl records were going away, replaced by CDs. I was going along with it, buying CDs.

This epic disruption in the force is evident by the massive gap in my record collection.

The last vinyl record I — or perhaps we — bought before The Great Disconnection was the Smithereens’ “11,” which came out in October 1989. I didn’t buy another new vinyl record for 18 years, until I picked up Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings’ “100 Days, 100 Nights,” which came out in October 2007. We’d seen her earlier that year while visiting New York.

I think back to the time of The Great Disconnection, probably sometime in the early ’00s. I remember the sparks from the flint, trying to rekindle a once-roaring fire.

One day, I walked through Amazing Records, a used record store here in Green Bay. How much fun all this once was, I thought. It doesn’t seem that it will ever be that great again, I thought. I didn’t buy anything.

One day, I went to a record show in a college gym. I looked at a lot of records, but felt much the same emptiness. At the end of the day, I bought a record to replace one of the records that went out in The Great Vinyl Purge of 1989. CDs were the future in 1989, so I got rid of dozens of records at a friend’s garage sale. “Hey, there are a lot of good records in here,” one garage sale shopper said. Yes, there were.

But that day at the college gym was a new day. I bought a replacement copy of Bob and Doug McKenzie’s “Great White North.”

In 2006, I discovered music blogs, as did the mainstream media. A story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tipped me to the first few “audioblogs” I followed. Record diggers ran some of those blogs.

A year later, in 2007, I followed their lead. I started this blog and I started record digging. It’s been great to have it all back.

It’s nice to be past The Great Disconnection ushered in by “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” That time was indeed a …

“Blue Period,” the Smithereens, from “11,” 1989. The last new vinyl record I — or perhaps we — bought for 18 years.

 

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Filed under September 2019, Sounds

The black-and-white snapshot

My "Boston" record from 1976.

As noted yesterday on Facebook …

Boston’s debut album was released on yesterday’s date in 1976 — Aug. 25, 1976. I bought my copy at Inner Sleeve Records in Wausau not long after yesterday’s date in 1976.

Other records I bought in 1976:

  • The Alan Parsons Project’s “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”
  • The Eagles’ “Hotel California”
  • “The Best of George Harrison”
  • The J. Geils Band’s “Live/Blow Your Face Out”
  • Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender”
  • KISS’ “Destroyer”
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “One More From The Road”
  • Poco’s “Rose of Cimarron”
  • Stanley Clarke’s “School Days”
  • Synergy’s “Sequencer”
  • “Wings Over America”

I also bought records by Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult, Kansas, Ted Nugent, Rainbow and ZZ Top in 1976, but I no longer have them.

Now, though, I look at those records and it’s a bit unsettling. Save for Stanley Clarke, where are the artists of color?

It is a snapshot of my life in 1976. Most of what I bought is what was on the radio in 1976, broadcast to a predominately white audience in central Wisconsin. Sure, there were songs by artists of color on the radio and played in the clubs, and I dug a fair number of them, but I don’t recall a lot of demand for soul, R&B and disco records. I clearly wasn’t demanding them.

I was 18, then 19, in 1976. I knew exactly one black person, a guy named Clarence Jenkins, a friend of a friend. He lived in an apartment above one of the downtown movie theaters. We went to the same two-year University of Wisconsin campus in Wausau. I didn’t know Clarence well at all.

I’d always liked soul and R&B music. I was introduced to it by WLS radio out of Chicago and WOKY out of Milwaukee before I was in my teens. But my knowledge of soul and R&B music was shallow, rarely going beyond the Top 40.

Fast forward to today. Much of my record digging over the last 15 or so years has been for ’60s and ’70s soul and R&B music that I either heard but overlooked back then or had never heard. These are some records from 1976 that I’ve since acquired. Most fall into the Heard But Overlooked Back Then category.

  • Eddie Kendricks’ “Goin Up In Smoke”
  • Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ “All Their Greatest Hits”
  • MFSB’s “Summertime”
  • Rhythm Heritage’s self-titled debut LP
  • Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” soundtrack
  • The Salsoul Orchestra’s “Nice ‘N’ Naasty”
  • The Spinners’ “Happiness Is Being With The Spinners” and “It’s A Shame”
  • Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life”
  • Vicki Sue Robinson’s “Turn The Beat Around” 12-inch single
  • War’s “Greatest Hits”
  • “Phillybusters, Vol. IV,” a compilation of Philadelphia International singles

And, no, these records aren’t all that adventurous even now. But it is progress, and a work in progress.

Eddie Kendricks Goin' Up In Smoke LP

“Goin’ Up In Smoke,” Eddie Kendricks, from “Goin’ Up In Smoke,” 1976.

Phillybusters, Vol. IV

“No Tell Motel,” Don Covay, from “Phillybusters, Vol. IV,” 1976.

Although this song isn’t from 1976 — it’s from a year earlier — it’s also on that “Phillybusters” comp from 1976. It’s a perfect mashup, a perfect illustration of what I’d heard on the radio and what I had not.

“I’m Not In Love,” Dee Dee Sharp, covering 10cc.

 

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Filed under August 2019, Sounds

By the time we got to Woodstock

So many great adventures begin with someone asking, “Hey, want to come along?”

That’s how my friend Tony Baldwin found himself at Woodstock 50 years ago tonight, on Friday, Aug. 15, 1969.

Woodstock soundtrack LP

Tony was 17 at the time, living in Indianapolis and just about to begin his senior year of high school.

“If you’re not doing anything, you can come with us,” said Tony’s sister Jean, who was 21 or 22 at the time. So Tony piled into a VW bus with his sister, her husband Mike and another guy, a friend of theirs. They headed east.

“Thursday, we drove straight through. We stopped in New York City to see somebody there, but we weren’t there long. When we got to the site (in Bethel, N.Y.), it was Friday, early afternoon. It was of course people everywhere. We didn’t have a tent, but we parked the bus. It was total chaos, pretty much. We found a spot. It had already started,” Tony told me last night, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival.

“We had no idea what this thing was,” he said of Woodstock.

“We didn’t know where it was. We just followed everybody. We walked and walked. It took forever to get there,” Tony said.

“By the time we got there, it was late afternoon. There was no fence. It was already down. We didn’t have any tickets. We just walked over the fence, a chain link fence.”

Sounds great, right?

“If you see the movie, we are at the top of the hill. There was a hill, then a gully, then the stage. We couldn’t get any closer. There was music, but we didn’t know who it was. They had a poor PA system,” Tony said.

As 9:30 p.m. approached, the kids from Indy finally heard something clear enough to make some sense of it.

After a bunch of announcements from the stage — among them a marriage proposal, someone needing insulin, someone having lost a duffel bag with all their possessions — there was this:

“Let’s welcome Mr. Tim Hardin.”

“We heard Tim Hardin being introduced, then heard a little bit of him,” Tony said.

“That was it. We stayed at the site for no more than an hour. Can’t hear, can’t see, can’t get any closer.

“Then we left the top of the hill. It was after dark. We went to try to find our campsite. We made it back to our parking spot. By that time, it probably had started to rain. It was very hot and humid.”

The next morning …

“Saturday morning, the people I came with, they decided this is ridiculous. We’re gonna leave. We saw zero acts, we saw zero people. It’s miserable. It’s rainy. It’s not fun. We’re leaving,” Tony recalled.

“We left late Saturday morning, probably. We piled in the bus and we drove very slowly. It was just mud, ruts from the cars, and we followed the ruts out. We had the side of the bus open. I was in the back. The friend also was in the back. There were clothes, beer, in the back. We’re driving like 2 mph. It was like rush hour traffic.”

On the way out …

“A guy wants a ride. We said sure. He gets in, and the guy grabs Jean’s purse and takes off. The friend took off after the guy. Probably 10 minutes later, he comes back with the purse,” Tony said.

“We got to the highway, probably drove straight through back to home. We probably got home late Sunday.”

Some lingering memories …

— “I wish I did see all of it, but I didn’t have any say in it,” Tony said.

— “They were totally unprepared (for the crowd, which was estimated at 400,000).”

— “There was a guy being carried away. I don’t know what was wrong. They might have been carrying him to the first aid tent or to their campground.”

I was wondering …

How does someone from Indianapolis find out about a music festival in New York state? Maybe a magazine ad. I’ve seen those for Woodstock. Maybe a radio ad? If so, I haven’t found any. Tony doesn’t know how his sister might have learned about it.

“I don’t think they planned it too far ahead of time,” Tony said of his sister’s journey to Woodstock.

All these years later …

“We have the movie but not the record. We went to see the movie when it came out (in 1970). We didn’t see anything that was in the movie,” Tony said.

Tony didn’t see or hear much of Tim Hardin on that Friday night at Woodstock. He didn’t see any of him in the documentary film, either. Nor did he hear him on the original soundtrack. Hardin’s set didn’t make the cut for the film or the record.

So here’s some of what you couldn’t see or hear, my friend.

Though this is billed as “complete 1969 Woodstock recording of Tim Hardin,” it’s not. Here are the first, third, ninth and 10th songs from Hardin’s 10-song Woodstock set — “How Can We Hang On to a Dream,” “If I Were a Carpenter,” “Simple Song of Freedom” and “Misty Roses.”

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Filed under August 2019, Sounds

The most amazing Rhythm Ace

Russell Smith, first-rate singer, first-rate songwriter, died last week. He was 70.

The Amazing Rhythm Aces got lumped in with the country crowd in the latter half of the ’70s, but their sound — shaped largely by Smith — was a savory Memphis BBQ rub spiced with country, soul, R&B, swing, blues, calypso and rock.

When you dropped one of their records onto the turntable, it was time to kick back, put your feet up and pop open a cold beverage. You couldn’t help but smile at some of their songs and nod knowingly at the rest.

I could go on, but Russell Smith’s warm, laid-back voice and charming songs say so much more. A most pleasant listen, then and now. Enjoy.

The cover of "Stacked Deck," released by the Amazing Rhythm Aces in 1975.

Let’s start with “Stacked Deck,” 1975. That was the Aces’ debut, recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis. If all you heard was “Third Rate Romance,” you had no sense of their versatility.

“Third Rate Romance.” The song that started it all. Still a damn fine song.

“The Ella B.” Swamp rock, choogling between Tony Joe White and John Fogerty.

“Who Will The Next Fool Be?” In which the Aces cover Charlie Rich.

“Emma-Jean.” Unrequited love for one of the “lovely lesbian ladies slow-dancing on the parquet floor” next door. Ah, life in the tropics.

“Why Can’t I Be Satisfied.” A bit like Fleetwood Mac at a jazz club, showcasing Barry “Byrd” Burton on guitar and some combination of James Hooker and Billy Earheart on piano and organ.

The cover of "The Amazing Rhythm Aces," released by the Amazing Rhythm Aces in 1979.

“The Amazing Rhythm Aces,” 1979, is another of my favorites. It was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound with the Muscle Shoals Horns.

“Love and Happiness.” Russell Smith’s distinctive voice infuses this Al Green cover. A couple of Memphis guys.

“Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette).” This was my introduction to the Allen Toussaint song first done by Benny Spellman.

“Say You Lied.” She left. Fine harmonies and fine picking by Duncan Cameron.

The cover of "Chock Full of Country Goodness," released by the Amazing Rhythm Aces in 1994.

The Aces broke up in 1981, then got back together in 1994, releasing their own material. “Chock Full of Country Goodness” came out in 1998.

“The Rock.” He’s leaving. This one is co-written by Smith and Jim Varsos.

Technical note: I suppose the cool kids would just create a Spotify playlist, but I’m not on that, sorry.

 

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Filed under July 2019, Sounds