Kim Fowley- Moving Sidewalks- The Troggs

This time out RockPile listens to some newly-released vintage material from Liberation Hall Records and associated label RockBeat Records.

Kim Fowley - In Deutschland

Fowley will probably always be best known for his association with the Runaways, and maybe secondarily for the accusations of sexual abuse made against him in the 2000s, a good decade before his 2015 death. Regardless of your opinion of Fowley the fact is that he had a long and storied career as a solo musician and producer, far too deep to go into here. Suffice it to say it started with the oldie "Alley Oop," the 1960 #1 hit created by Fowley and Gary S. Paxton and credited to a non-existent band called the Hollywood Argyles. In Deutschland was recorded live in Berlin in 1992 and it is what can best be described as sloppy garage rock, likely recorded drunk. And while that may sound like an immediate turnoff, the set is actually quite interesting and is more than just a historical document. Fowley begins the set with "Berlin Boogie," after which he announces that "naked angels" will be coming on stage after four songs. The John Lee Hooker-informed "Moonlight in Germany" boogies into "Petra Kelly's Dead," a psych rocker about a German politician who was shot to death just weeks before the show. Especially loose are covers of "Back in the USSR" where Fowley changes the lyrics to "back in the DDR" to refer to Germany and a take on the Van Morrison chestnut "Gloria." Fowley rails against the American military presence in Germany and talks about heroin smuggling in California before playing "Third World Girl (Spanish Fly)" which basically just extends the rant. Thoroughly amusing if not musically competent, In Deutschland is something that will be a one-time listen for many but treasured by others.

Moving Sidewalks - Flash

Ever wonder what kind of music Billy Gibbons was into before ZZ Top? This album from Houston's Moving Sidewalks provides the answer; psychedelic garage rock! Gibbons' guitar takes on lysergic tones on the rowdy "Flashback;" towards the end of the song the band tones things down and the vocals, knowing who the singer is, are recognizable as belonging to a young Gibbons. More than half of the 11 included songs here were written or co-written by Gibbons, and his vocal phrasing is clearly influenced by Jimi Hendrix on the self-penned "You Make Me Shake" as is "Pluto - Sept. 31st," a cut with a liberal amount of odd psych effects appended. Perhaps the best hint of what was to come from Gibbons is the long blues groove "Joe Blues" where the band forgoes psychedelia in favor of a straight ahead blues with lots of fluid guitar solos and blues harp from Gibbons as well as fine organ fills from keys man Tom Moore. Also influenced by fellow Texans the 13th Floor Elevators, the band zoom way past the 13th on "99th Floor," a 1967 single that found the guys closing in on the commercial sound of the day. This reissue is also notable in that Dan Mitchell is the drummer; he went on to become a founding member of ZZ Top.

The Troggs - The Trogg Tapes

The Trogg Tapes came out a decade after the Troggs had their massive hit with "Wild Thing" and this reissue originally from 1976 features original Troggs singer Reg Presley, now deceased. Of course, their sound had progressed by the mid-'70s but they still had good pop chops going on cuts like "A Different Me" where the Englishmen tune into a vibe nearing Southern rock and they make a direct reference to the American South on the bluesy, slide guitar fiesta of "Down South to Georgia," a cut about outrunning the law on the way home to see a lover. Colin Fletcher and Richard Moore are the guitarists and they also romp like crazy on the Bo Diddley-inspired "Gonna Make You" but mellow out with acoustics on the sedate "After the Rain." A nice interpretation of the Rufus Thomas chestnut "Walkin' the Dog" closes the album. Worth a listen for all Troggs fans but realistically probably a keeper for hard core fans only.

Tony Hazzard - Demonstration

Hazzard, an Englishman from Liverpool, is known primarily as a songwriter as opposed to a performing artist. Demonstration is (mostly) a reissue of his 1969 debut effort Tony Hazzard Sings Tony Hazzard, and American listeners may recognize two songs here that were hits for Manfred Mann, "Fox on the Run" (not the song by the Sweet) and "Ha Ha Said the Clown." Other notable cuts include the Beatles-esque "The Matter with You," the pop perfection of "How's She Making Out" and "Listen to Me" which features guitar from Tony Hicks of the Hollies. Fans of well-done English pop rock from the '60s will love Demonstration.

Scott McCarl - Play On

If you're one to read liner notes and credits you may recognize McCarl's name from the 1974 album by the Raspberries, Starting Over. Unfortunately, the Raspberries broke up after that album and McCarl left the music business. But back he came in 1998 with this solo album, named after one of the Raspberries tunes he had written. With his fondness for sweet pop melodies fully intact McCarl offers the sunny "I'll Be on My Way," the Beatles-esque "I Hope," the sublime pop of "Wait a Minute Girl" and the Cars-like "In Love Without a Girl." Also included in this nice set of mellow rock is a cover of the Gerry and the Pacemakers hit "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" and from 2021 "Doin' it Right," a self-penned cut about the Beatles early years at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, of course with a bit of musical homage as well.

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