Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Show of (LT) Shows


THE LLOYD THAXTON SHOW!!


Man, when I knew that program was coming on (I believe) my hometown's Channel 9, I'd sneak into the bedroom (where my folks had a second -- much smaller -- TV) about twenty minutes ahead-of-time just so I could "lay claim" to the set (we had a rule in the Hinson household: Whoever got to the TV set first got to choose the program! And, with two brothers, there was a constant battle.) Couldn't've cared less about the dancing, as such ... I had two left feet, anyway, and no dancing partner ... but that little guy with the suit that ran the show was a total nut, and he made that show lively and fun to watch!

His interaction with the kids was amazing ... and a great influence on my own desire to be behind a mike someday ... but it was Lloyd's banter with the acts that was the real kick! When he interviewed the Knickerbockers, danced with the Godfather of Soul, or chatted with Bill and Bobby (the Righteous Brothers), I got a sense of the true performer: artist, talent, serious, comic ... but human. As for the stars, Lloyd could get past any shell that said "STAR" and brought out the part that said "...ALSO A HUMAN BEING LIKE ANYBODY ELSE!"

The most hilarious segment was when he grabbed a guitar and, with the stage darkened and just a spotlight on him, began to lip-synch to Dylan's Desolation Row (the song, itself, is about eleven minutes and change). He had the plaintive, faraway look of a folk singer at Cafe Wha?, and was doing a good job.

Then they cut for commercials.

Coming back, there was Lloyd ... still "singing," but with the studio "empty", the random newspaper blowing past him as though he'd been left, abandoned, to finish the ultra-long (at that time) tune. Having just listened to the song again on the "Highway 61 Revisited" LP, I laughed so hard that my sides hurt for a good 24 hours afterward ...

Then, there were the Byrds ... the live performance. It certainly made me "feel a whole lot better" about what my folks called the "frammin' away" I did on the Sears Silvertone. Though they'd bucked the set's system, the fivesome gave me the confidence to hit the stage myself ...

It was a tragic day when I tuned in just to learn that Lloyd's show was no longer on the schedule ... but, somehow, I knew that, whatever The Man did, he'd be rockin' while he was doin' it!

He's been gone from us for almost eight years now but, somewhere up there in Rock-and-Roll Heaven, I know Lloyd's still got the music in him ... the pure spirit of what it was all about ... and the very thing that will make him "number-one-with-a-bullet" on this writer's Top 40 List for years to
come.

Rock on, my friend!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Beatles vs. Monkees

Okay ... we already know the effects of the Beatles' first appearance in America, right (hey ... if not, how long were you under that rock?)? And, natch, there were thousands of stateside boys who began puttin' together groups in hopes that, somehow, some of JPG&R's success would rub off on them.

The first group that successfully copied the British Beat was The Beau Brummels. These guys had all the elements: harmony, strong rhythm, good backbeat, and cool stage presence. To this day, Sal Valentino -- the leader of the group from the get-go -- is performing with the same cool sounds he made way-back-when. It's a real relief from the crazy, slap-together "music" found everywhere nowadays. (Waitaminnit. The dude provides relief by singing his group's old tunes? Does that make him a "BRUMMEL-Seltzer"?)

But the US group that made the most lasting impact was probably The Monkees (WHAT?!? Has the Relic lost his everlovin' mind?? Read on, oh shocked ones ...)
Okay, it's true: the "preFab Four" only sang on their first records, while a different group did the music. But, eventually, they got really ticked off about not being allowed to play their own instruments (remember Mike putting his fist through a wall?) and forced the producers' hands to let 'em do it.
And, rockers, that's when change started to happen.

Lemme give ya just a taste of the impact these four guys had:

They introduced the Moog Synthesizer (the predecessor to today's overused synthesizer) to rock audiences (they had the second one here in America. The first went to Buck Owens' C&W group!).

They pretty much sacrificed their career to promote a guy who joined them on tour back in '67. Although he didn't last through the entire tour due to his wild and eccentric playing (having been booed off stage by the teenyboppers who came to see the main act), Jimi Hendrix went on to superstardom in his own right.

Another group needed a hand in financing their stage act, and the Monkees were quick to oblige. The fact that they were three guys backed with a tremendous wall of sound intrigued them. So they scraped up their nickels and dimes ... and Three Dog Night became a mega-hit of the late Sixties to the mid-Seventies.

Of course, where would we be if we didn't mention "Wool Hat" Michael Nesmith? His collaboration with Todd Rundgren (he of the Bang The Drum All Day and Hello, It's Me fame?) and inspiration from the videos done on the Monkees TV show gave them the germ of an idea:
take the $26 million his mom left him (she created Liquid Paper) and invest it in a TV production company that would specialize in rock-related videos!

Thus, the original MTV was born (definitely not the clap-trap you see on there today.  In fact, I don't even think a Kardashian was even born yet!!).

And there ya have two of the most influential US groups ... one fab, one prefab ... both instrumental (pardon the pun!) in the construction of the group-rock scene, USA-style ...

QUIZTIME: Okay ... here's the Relic's Q-without-the-A for ya:

Although they sang, The Monkees didn't perform their own music on the first two LPs they released. For 1,000 points (I don't wanna put this thing in Jeopardy, though!), What was the name of the "group" that did the actual music?  (Yes, they were given a name!!)  First one that answers right gets a mention on the blog. If no one gets it, I'll publish the answer in about a week, right here.

So, that's it for now, troops. 'Til next time, remember:

Keep your eyes on the skies, your feet on the ground, your heart with the music ...
and I'll see ya on the flip side