Sunday, February 22, 2009

MangMangled: A Cover Collection (Volume 1)

MangMade has drawn serious influence from 60s garage and psychedelic rock, collecting the Rhino Records Nuggets LPs in the 80s and a lot of the relatively well known acts like the Standells, Music Machine, Seeds, etc. Thanks to the web with its blogs showcasing information for the rarely heard material, we've been exposed to "new-old" stuff for the past few years. This, as well as historical genre material no longer found on the radio.

For the last couple months, the MangMade studio has seen the recording of cover versions of a few of these finds. Not being original songs, they aren't truly MangMade tracks, but they are definitely Mang-Mangled. Here we present the first three. With a little imagination (and quite a reach) a narrative may be derived, closer to the Who's A Quick One rather than Tommy. Okay, a LONG reach.

Click the big "Play" button below and read on for more information.

Tramp - Lowell Fulson (aka Lowell Fulsom)

This Lowell Fulsom track came down the stream following closely in the wake of Bo Diddley's Where It All Began (in order of awareness, not release). Like a lot of the material showcased, this one is less garage-y and more blues-soul based, but rides the same road and rails. This song was made famous by Otis Redding and Rufus Thomas' daughter Carla (thanks for the tip, Kevin Pyle aka K-Bone). Apparently, this track has also been plundered for its bass and beats in a number of contemporary songs as well.

Curiously, I heard Fulsom's Drifter first, which sounds like it may have been an answer to an "answer song" to the original Tramp record. Drifter begins: "Now you call me a hobo..." and mentions a box car, two fine queens, things that didn't quite make sense with the LP cover showing him posed in white suit beside a huge Cadillac. It was only later I saw the cover for Tramp that it made sense. The "tramp" had now taken the more stylish sobriquet of "drifter." Here today, tomorrow... I don't know.

The Mang-Mangled version:
The main groove is driven by the twang of a MangMade cigar box guitar. Act One in our garage drama introduces the fast talkin' Tramp persuading our hero's girlfriend to believe that he is richer than he looks and comes from a family of lovers.

Goin' Away
- Beaus of Beethoven

Keyboard-heavy garage soul with fairly incomprehensible lyrics courtesy of the remarkable USA Garage Greats collection found via TWILIGHTZONE! There is so much excellent music in this series of compilations, so much more to cover from them. Not much to go on as for background, except this was the B-side to a single (Sound Pro SPS1015) that may or may not have produced much of a buzz outside of its regional origin (and even that may be questionable). This one is gripping with a cold and grey November dusk feeling about it, making it stand away from the rest of the tracks.

The Mang-Mangled version: The instrumental bridge is driven by the arpeggio twang of a MangMade cigar box guitar. Act Two (ghesundheit) finds our hero, having been dumped, watching the lovers from the roof of his slum apartment with many a bad and misguided thought on his mind.

Why Don't You Smile - The All-Night Workers

Covering this one isn't a totally new idea, either.
That's because its partly an early, pre-Velvet Underground Lou Reed - JJ Cale composition. First seen on the Soul Deep collection at TWILIGHTZONE! and subsequently discovered information about it was posted originally here at Derek's Daily 45. There you'll find an excellent write-up on its pedigree, explaining why the tune would strike a Velvet fan. For many it may be a revelation to know Reed and Cale had been house songwriters for a record label before VU.

The Mang-Mangled version: I think there is another MangMade cigar box guitar buried in this one, too. In Act Three the former girlfriend has apparently discovered the Tramp was really just a hobo. Our hero, with vulnerable wrath, is resolved to take delight in spitting her own words back at her before cutting loose.

Monday, February 16, 2009