Northwest Underground rock 1980 'til the End of Time

Jan. 2011: Jerden Records – History of NW Rock

Happy New Year GMR musicologists!

Have we got a treat for you. We here at Green Monkey Records thought Jerden History of NW Rocka great way to ring in the new year would be to have a little look back at Northwest garage rock. Not of the 90’s. No. Not of the 80’s or 70’s either. We are taking you way back to the 1960’s for a listen into Jerden Records vaults. Jerden Records was an independent record label in Seattle which operated from May 1960 through April 1971. The album shown at the top of the page was released in 1976 and was an album both TD and I owned at some point (I still do). I’m sure many of your fav GMR, Popllama, CZ, Sub-Pop, etc. NW artists of the 1980’s and 90’s also picked this one up as you will hear. I couldn’t follow the original track order because I’m sure some of the tracks were only licensed for that release. So instead, I hand picked 18, mostly 60’s punk-rock, tracks that collectively helped influence the next big Northwest Sound. (I did leave out the Kingsmen‘s Louie, Louie because I figured you’ve already heard that one.) The intial Northwest Sound was heavy on the R&B and surf music side, so we’ve included a few of those also.

We owe a huge thanks to Jerry Dennon and Bob Wikstrom who sent us some of the catalog to feature for our January 2011 album of the month, as well as Peter Blecha for the great liner notes and research! All of the songs featured this month are available at the Soundworks/Jerden Records website or at cduniverse and Amazon (of course).

Oh yeah, your tour guide this month is Howie Wahlen. TD needed a break to finish mixing the brand new Icons album. Out soon.


The track list:Dave Lewis (center)

1.  Dave LewisDavid’s Mood, Part 2 (Dave Lewis)

Known as the Godfather of Northwest Rock or the King of Seattle R & B, no history of NW rock would be complete without him. To say he was a strong influence is putting it lightly. Stan Foreman, a local musician & Capitol Records radio promo man confirms, “Dave Lewis changed the sound of Northwest music. After the release of Dave’s first (record) on Jerden Records almost every Northwest band added a Hammond organ.”  Many of the bands in the northwest covered Dave’s songs, including The Kingsmen (see track-4). David passed away on March 13, 1998 at a hospital in San Diego from lung cancer.

2.  The Sonics – Leave My Kitten Alone (Little Willie John, James McDougal and Titus Turner)
The Little Willie John song also covered by The Beatles in 1964, but not released at the time. There’s really not much I can add about the legendary Sonics except that “The Witch” and “Psycho” were a big part of the Northwest sixties youth conscience. Weren’t they huge everywhere? And yes, The Sonics are playing again and even have a new Jack Endino recorded disc you can check out at the official Sonics site.

3.  The Bandits – Little Sally Walker  (Turner Wilson)
Rob Simpson remembers that, “(The Bandits) won the KJR “Battle of the Bands” at the old Orpheum Theater (where the Westin now stands) in 1965, thereby earning a recording contract with Jerden Records. They released, a Carney Barton production as I recall, “Little Sally Walker” with “Tell Me” as the “B” side during the Fall of 1965.” pnwbands.com

One of the reasons I chose this song is that The Icons wrote and recorded their own “Little Sally Walker” for Masters of Disaster in the 1980’s. Listen here.

4.  The Kingsmen – J.A.J. (Dave Lewis)
There’s that Hammond B-3! This ain’t no Louie, Louie.

5.  Don and the Goodtimes – Long Green (L. Easton)
You could not escape this Portland, Oregon band in the northwest of the 1960’s. They were everywhere and they could rock with the best of them. Even so, they may still be highly underrated.

6.  The Sonics – Maintaining My Cool (G. Roslie)
Sounds like this could be Mudhoney, Tyla Gang or from the Zappa/Beefheart album Bongo Fury. Damn cool!The Beachcombers 1965 courtesy of Stan Foreman

7.  The Beachcombers – Farmer John (Don Harris, Dewey Terry)
Proving Stan Foreman was no slouch on the keyboards himself, here’s his Aberdeen-Hoquiam band with a song that’s also been covered by The Searchers, Neil Young and appears on “Nuggets” by the Premiers. Look out Nirvana!

8.  The Dimensions – Knock You Flat (Hughes, Turner)
This sounds suspiciously like their big national hit “She’s Boss,” and they like her enough to “Knock You Flat” if you mess with her.

9.  Don and the Goodtimes – The Witch (G. Roslie)
Don and the boys rock this one as hard and raunchy as The Sonics.

10. The Sonics – You’ve Got Your Head On Backwards  (Parypa, Parypa, Roslie)
I love this one. (TD loves this, too!) Also covered by the Young Fresh Fellows on Topsy Turvey.

11. The Galaxies – Along Comes The Man (Eubanks)
A band from Stadium High School in Tacoma, The Galaxies belt out one that most NW bands of the 80’s can relate to.

“Mostly we were a cover band, a dance band,” said Galaxies bassist Chuck Naubert. “The kids loved to dance to us because we were pretty much a Top-40 cover band playing what they were listening to on Pat O’Day’s KJR. We played what they were listening to at all the drive-ins back in the day – the Frisko Freeze, Busch’s and the Hilltop Drive-In.” pnwbands.comDewey Martin

12. Sir Raleigh and the Coupons – Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day (Tommy Boyce, Steve Venet)
Most NW folks already know that Sir Raleigh was Dewey Martin who later ended up as drummer for the Buffalo Springfield. Here’s a psych-punk number that was also on The Monkees first album.

13. Tom Thumb and the Casuals – I Should Know (Miller, Wolfe)
“Tom Thumb and the Casuals formed in Seattle, Washington when Blessing and Letterman recruited Wolfe from a local band, The Nomads, in 1963. They attracted sufficient interest to get a deal with Seafair-Bolo Records.  Their song Movin’ On got a lot of local airplay and became a local hit. In 1965 Jim Valley’s brother, Steve, joined the band. They soon signed to Jerry Dennon’s Panorama label. Their two resulting 45s attracted considerable airplay.  During the era of Teen Fair Battles of the Bands Contests, they wound up winning one of those events.  Just when their future was looking bright, tragedy struck. The band’s vehicle crashed enroute to a performance in Richland, Washington. Blessing and Evans were killed. Valley was injured but recovered.” pnwbands.com

14. Don and the Goodtimes – Little Sally Tease (Jim Valley)
This rockin’ number was all over NW radio in the sixties back when local radio could play local bands. Imagine that!

15. The Sonics – High Time (Parypa, Roslie)
Dig that “Satisfaction” fuzz on the bass.

16. The Unusuals – I’m Walkin’ Babe (Hamilton)

Babe It’s Me b/w I’m Walkin’ Babe  (Panorama 23) October 1965
This Bellingham, Washington band also counted among it’s memebers Kathi McDonald – you can’t hear her on this rockin’ B-side to thier first single.

17. Don and the Goodtimes – You Were Just A Child (R. Overman)Volume 2: The Garage Years
I’m guessing that this nice little pop-psych number was the one that got them signed to Epic Records. It got a lot of airplay on KJR and KOL. The “I Could Be So Good To You” single and their shot at the big time via “Where The Action Is” came next.

18. The Jesters – Alki Point (Hayes, Marwood, Weisflog)
I couldn’t resist this Seattle band’s surf instrumental nod to my home from 1979 to 1994 to close out this Jerden Records History of Northwest Rock.

I hope we can do it again sometime soon. Maybe Volume 3: Pyschedelic Seattle? Or the Dave Lewis CD?

It’s been a gas!

HAW December 31, 2010

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