Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hitmakers of the 60s, Chicago style

Last Time AroundOne of the best tracks from that most essential of box sets, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The Original Psychedelic Era, comes from a Chicago band almost no one's heard of today. In 1966, The Del-Vetts released their one hit single, "Last Time Around" --an incredible slab of fuzz guitars and neanderthal stomp that prefigures punk and metal by at least a decade. I just can't help but wonder what the clean-cut kids of the day were thinking when they put this grungy, sexed-up slice of vinyl on their turntables.

Last Time Around - The Del-Vetts

Shadows of KnightThe Del-Vetts record was released by local label Dunwich, and while Dunwich didn't make a fortune off that band, it had more success with a bunch of Arlington Heights teenagers who called themselves The Shadows of Knight. A better-known group today, thanks to the enduring popularity of their "clean" version of "Gloria" (Van Morrison composition), Shadows had a string of regional and national hits, including a cover of Bo Diddley's "Oh Yeah" and their version of blues standard "I Got My Mojo Working." So what if they borrowed liberally from The Yardbirds and the Stones? As a Chicago band, they were also first-hand witnesses to the blues artists musicians on the other side of the Atlantic were themselves pilfering.

Gloria - The Shadows of Knight

I Got My Mojo Working - The Shadows of Knight

I'm Gonna Make You Mine - The Shadows of Knight

Another Chicago act, The Cryan' Shames were more pop oriented in the vein of contemporaries the Beatles and Beach Boys. Their big hit of almost 40 years ago, "Sugar and Spice" isn't especially distinguished...something about that limp tambourine. But the band could kick out the jams, as evidenced by the schizophrenic "Ben Franklin's Almanac." It's a track that tosses in a little of everything--Byrds-like jangle and harmonies, Chuck Berry rhythm, Beatles melodicism and some psychedelic guitar work. A pretty good emblem, therefore, for a transitional period of rock n' roll.

Sugar and Spice - The Cryan' Shames

Ben Franklin's Almanac - The Cryan' Shames

The Cryan' Shames

3 Comments:

Blogger Repoz said...

I still have 2 or 3 copies left of the Del-Vetts - I Call My Baby STP/That's the Way It Is [11/66 #142]...which comes with that tubbo-gas Andy Granatelli's offical STP sticker of flatuence included in every pic-sleeve 45!

Ultracoool!

11:04 PM  
Blogger countrygrrl said...

what a find...love those cats...twangeroo to xctasy.....love the blog and will visit again you bet...

11:24 AM  
Blogger dickvandyke said...

Nice work old boy

1:38 PM  

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