Friday, September 23, 2011

VIDEO: Canned Heat - On The Road Again (14/9/68)

Where are they now? -  American Blues/Rock Ban...Image by brizzle born and bred via Flickrby BeatClub on YouTube:

In 1965, the blues- and boogie-rock band Canned Heat was formed in Los Angeles by guitar and harmonica player Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson and lead singer Bob "The Bear" Hite.

They took the name for the band from an old delta blues song called Canned Heat Blues written by Tommy Johnson in 1928.

The worldwide hit On The Road Again is best known for Wilson's unique high-pitched vocals and famous for its harmonica solo.

Besides playing at all major festivals of the 60s, including Woodstock, Monterey Pop, and the Isle of Wight, the band also travelled to Europe for concerts and TV appearances, e.g. the German Beat Club, where they performed the song in a lip-synched version.

Tragically, on September 3, 1970 Alan Wilson died of a barbiturate overdose which led to numerous line-up changes in the following years. But the band still plays on today in the fifth decade of their existence.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, September 19, 2011

VIDEO: RIP Jimi, The Experience Always Lives On!

Hi everyone,

A momentous day - 18 September 1970.

This video is of Jimi Hendrix being interviewed in England just seven days before his death on September 11th 1970.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

VIDEO: Strange Brew by Cream

CreamCover of CreamHi all,

Another blast from the past with Strange Brew by Cream - with Eric Clapton (g), Jack Bruce (b) and Ginger Baker (d) on 20.05.1967 in the Beat Club.

Best known as one of the first "supergroups" in rock history, Cream combined the talent of three outstanding musicians of the 60s: Blues rock guitarist Eric Clapton, bass player Jack Bruce and jazz-influenced drummer Ginger Baker.

Together they fused blues, rock and psychedelic and put the idea of jamming music with 20-minute-jams into a higher level. They sold over 35 million albums and their third album, Wheels of Fire, became the first platinum-selling album in the world.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How Three Singing Australian Sheepherders Produced "Hang On Sloopy"

Hang On SloopyImage via WikipediaBy Lee Jensen

For seven years starting in 1960, Bert Berns was one of rock's most prolific writers and producers, responsible for classics like "Under The Boardwalk," "Brown Eyed Girl," "Piece Of My Heart," and "Twist and Shout."

Often using the pseudonym Bert Russell, Berns and Wes Farrell wrote and produced "My Girl Sloopy," a rhythm and blues hit for the Vibrations. It would take a new group, a new title and a year before the song would reach number one on the pop charts.

But who is Sloopy? Some say the song's inspiration was Dorothy "Dottie" Sloop, a New Orleans jazz pianist who performed from the 1930s to the 1950s as "Sloopy."

Brett Ruland, a relative of Sloop's, cites local legend and theorizes that Berns was inspired to write the song at a performance by the pianist. Sloop was a popular New Orleans musician who played at Dixie's Bar of Music on Bourbon Street in the 1950s. It's Ruland's theory that one night Bert Berns was in the audience.

"She was playing piano and something was wrong with the sound system and customers were getting rowdy and she was getting frustrated," Ruland said. "People were not paying attention, and he (Berns) saw that she was getting distressed, and one of the regulars yelled out, 'Hang on Sloopy!'"

Enter the Vibrations, a South Central Los Angeles group that recorded a few R&B hits in the 1950s and 60s. One of their best, "My Girl Sloopy," was produced by Berns for Atlantic Records in 1964. The song was a favorite of garage bands, including Rick and the Raiders from Union City, Indiana. Lead singer and guitarist Rick was Rick Zehringer, who would become Rick Derringer. As Paul Revere and the Raiders were becoming popular, the band would rename itself the McCoys.

Derringer's band appeared with many successful groups who toured the Midwest, including a gig in 1965 with the Strangeloves: Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer, three record producers from Brooklyn who rode the British Invasion wave by pretending to be singing Australian sheepherders. The Strangeloves scored a surprise hit in 1965 with "I Want Candy." The trio called themselves the Strange Brothers, Miles, Niles, and Giles, and went on tour.

While on the road, the Strangeloves hoped to discover a new group with the Mersey look to record "My Girl Sloopy" for their label: Bert Berns' Bang Records. Their substitute backup group in Dayton, Ohio was the McCoys.

Big R&B fans, the McCoys knew "My Girl Sloopy" well; it had been part of their repertoire. At the end of the tour, the McCoys were invited to come to New York City to record what would become "Hang On Sloopy."

The McCoys were brought to a studio where they first recorded the music track. The Strangeloves, who produced the record, came up with an idea that yielded the explosive vocals of "Hang On Sloopy." Instead of immediately recording the vocals, the group was given a portable record player and an acetate copy of the music track. The group was told to rehearse the vocals for a week... which they did, in a New York City park.

"So the following week when we went into the studio, we nailed that sucker," recalled Derringer. "The engineers jumped up and down in the control room and yelled 'Number One! Number One!' and within a few weeks it was."

Lee Jensen, author of Rockaeology, unearths the secrets behind the writing, production and recording of the great hits of rock, soul, doo-wop, the British Invasion and Rhythm & Blues. Get the stories behind the songs at

Article Source:
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Country Joe and the Fish: The War, the Cheer, and the "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag"

Cover of "Feel Like I'm Fixin to Die"Cover of Feel Like I'm Fixin to DieBy Lee Jensen

As the Vietnam War escalated in the mid-1960s and young men increasingly were drafted into the military, protest songs became more mainstream, even reaching the pop charts. Once a staple of folk music, like Phil Ochs' "I Ain't Marching Anymore," anti-war songs like Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction," written by pop composer P. F. Sloan, hit number one on the Billboard charts.

Perhaps the most enduring protest song of the era was Country Joe and the Fish's "I-Feel-Like-I'm Fixin'-To-Die Rag." The song is written in the voice of a military recruiter/carnival barker (with horns, kazoos and an outrageous hurdy-gurdy organ accompaniment) who encourages young men to join the fight in Vietnam, then invites parents to be the first to "have your boy come home in a box." Its chorus: "Whoopee! We're all gonna die."

McDonald, in 1965 a folkie living in San Francisco, wrote the "Fixin'-To-Die Rag" in less than 30 minutes and recorded it as part of an EP (extended play) disc with guitarist Barry Melton and other musicians; they called themselves Country Joe and the Fish.

McDonald, a Navy vet who was raised in a family of American Communists, wrote that the song "attempts to put blame for the war upon the politicians and leaders of the US military and upon the industry that makes its money from war but not upon those who had to fight the war ... the soldiers."

Many were introduced to the "Fixin'-To-Die Rag" in the 1970 Woodstock documentary. On the 1969 festival's first show day, many performers were unable to reach the stage due to the weather and crowds. McDonald, standing onstage watching an exhausted Richie Havens wrap up a three-hour performance, was handed an acoustic guitar and was convinced to play.

McDonald, who understood his job was to kill time as much as entertain, has said that after playing for 25 minutes, he noticed that few in the crowd of more than 300,000 people were listening to him. That's when he shouted, "Gimme an F!" It got the crowd's attention and they shouted back, "F!"

The chant that followed was like nothing like you'll hear from cheerleaders at a football game; it was the "Fish Cheer," which always precedes the "Fixin'-To-Die Rag." McDonald, who felt unappreciated by the music industry, explained that the "Fish Cheer" was born at a 1967 recording session as a way for the band to pat itself on the back. Each band member shouted "Gimme an F," "Gimme an I," "Gimme an S," "Gimme an H." Then they shouted, "What's that spell?" "Fish!"

The "Fish Cheer" became a staple at concerts but the chant would undergo a change in 1968 that made it both controversial and memorable. At New York City's Schaefer Beer Festival, drummer Gary "Chicken" Hirsh came up with the idea to change the "FISH" part of the cheer to another four-letter-word. The audience enjoyed it but the Schaefer festival banned the group for life.

Even without the cheer, the "Fixin'-To-Die Rag" was considered so controversial that Vanguard Records president Maynard Solomon refused to let the group include the song on their debut album, Electric Music For The Mind and Body. Solomon believed the song would become a "thorn in their side and prevent the band from getting any single play on the radio." But Solomon would relent and "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" became the title song of the band's second album in 1967.

McDonald has said that he still enjoys performing the song because so many audience members "experienced" the song during the Vietnam war; in Vietnamese POW camps, the song was played to demoralize the prisoners but McDonald has been told it gave them encouragement. One vet told McDonald that his friend's dying words were "Whoopee! We're all gonna die."

Lee Jensen, author of Rockaeology, unearths the secrets behind the writing, production and recording of the great hits of rock, soul, doo-wop, the British Invasion and Rhythm & Blues. Get the stories behind the songs at

For even more on the "Fish Cheer" and the "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" visit

Article Source:,-the-Cheer,-and-the-I-Feel-Like-Im-Fixin-To-Die-Rag&id=6524437
Enhanced by Zemanta