The Pleasure Seekers

The Pleasure Seekers gave Suzi Quatro her start, for all you bubble-glam fans.An ode to teenage drinking!

Well I love you baby
I’m telling you right here
But please don’t make me decide baby
Between you and a bottle of beer.

Baby come on over,
come on over to my side
well I may not live past twenty-one
but WOO!
what a way to die!

Your lovin’ fluctuates baby
and everybody knows
but the temperature always stays the same
on an ice cold bottle of Stroh’s

When I start my drinking
my baby throws a fit
So I just blitz him outta my mind
with seventeen bottles of Schlitz

You’ve got the kind of body
that makes me come alive
But I’d rather have my hands around
A bottle of Colt 45

Baby come on over,
come on over to my side
well I may not live past twenty-one
but WOO!
what a way to die

The Action (NZ)

An early photo of the band before vocalist Evan Silva joined.
From left: Brian Harris drums, Danny Stradwick guitar, John Bisset organ and Jack Stradwick bass.

The Action I’m posting today isn’t the UK group of the same name but a New Zealand group from Auckland. Seems like they didn’t mind being confused with their more famous namesake, as they recorded the UK Action’s “Never Ever” for their second 45. Not an unusual practice at the time, there’s also an Australian group calling itself the Birds who covered two of the UK Bird’s 45s, “No Good Without You” and “Say Those Magic Words”.

This Action cover the Vagrants “I Can’t Make a Friend” on the flip side of their first 45, “Romeo and Juliet”, doing an excellent job of it too. This was recorded in April of 1967. Though you wouldn’t think it from this song, they were actually known as more of a soul and r&b band than pop or garage.

Evan Silva wrote to me about “I Can’t Make a Friend”:

That was the first song I recorded with the Action at Stebbings studio in Eldred Stebbing’s basement. I sing on all but Romeo & Juliet. The A sides were Stebbing’s suggestion for the pop market and we selected the B sides. We never played the A sides live as we did not like them, except for Try A Little Tenderness we played that regular especially in Oz! Brett [Neilsen] our drummer was the La De Da’s drummer prior to us and did not want to go back to Oz, then joined the Action and off we went to Oz!

Brian Harris then took Brett’s place in the La De Da’s!

Eldred Stebbing was the owner of the Zodiac label. Many of the great New Zealand bands recorded at his studio, and the Action, the Pleazers and the La De Da’s all played residencies at his nightclub, the Galaxie.

A detailed history of the band is available here

The Chants R&B

The Chants R&B are maybe the greatest of all the New Zealand groups – and that’s saying something considering the competition (Bluestars, La De Das, Pleazers and more).

They came out of Christchurch and put out two 45s in 1966. Band members were Mike Rudd guitar and vocals, Jim Tomlin guitar, Martin Forrer bass and Trevor Courtney drums.

After the first 45, the insane “I Want Her”, Jim Tomlin left the band and was replaced by Max Kelly. Tomlin came back, however, to produce their next and last 45, the solid “I’m Your Witchdoctor” / “Neighbor Neighbor”, both sides of which feature non-stop fills and razor sharp soloing behind the vocals. An amazing record.

Their live shows were legendary with episodes like Mike Rudd nailing his guitar to the floor while still plugged in, generating wailing feedback! A glimpse of their live sound is available on The Stage Door Tapes.

Rare tracks by Dave Davies, Ray Davies and the Kinks

“I Believed You” is one of the demo tracks recorded by the Ravens, an early version of the Kinks led by Dave Davies, in 1963.

“Time Will Tell” is an excellent Kinks track that for some reason wasn’t released at the time.

Next come three Ray Davies songwriting demos, never recorded by the full band, all from 1965. “All Night Stand” was given to the Thoughts, a UK band also produced by Shel Talmy, but I prefer Ray’s demo.

“Creeping Jean” is a fairly obscure song by Davie Davies and the Kinks. After hitting big with his solo 45, “Death of a Clown”, it looked like Dave might start a full solo career. An album was planned and more 45’s released under his name. None of those did very well, so the lp was canceled. This song was only available on the b-side to “Hold My Hand” from early 1969, until Pye issued “Dave Davies – The Album that Never Was” in 1988.

The Beavers

Sleeve for the Beavers second 45, Kiminaki Sekai / Why Baby Why
What a riff! With a great moody vocal to boot. Released in November, 1967 on the Seven Seas label, “Kiminaki Sekai (The World Without You)” is one of my favorite Group Sounds tunes. Check out the gloomy lyrics in the comment by Navura below!The flip, “Why Baby Why”, is more pop, I’m surprised it wasn’t chosen as the A-side at the time. The Spiders’ guitarist Hiroshi Kamayatsu wrote the lyrics to “Kiminaki Sekai” and the music for “Why Baby Why” under the name “Gen Goki”. This was the second of five singles by the Beavers. Jean-Pierre sent in the excellent “Kimi Suki Da Yo”, their third 45 from April, 1968, which was backed by slightly psychedelic pop of “Koishite Aishite”.I haven’t heard their other 45s, including their first “Hatsukoi No Oka (The Hill Of The First Love)” b/w “Hello, Coffee Girl” which Julian Cope praises in the quote below.

Their only LP consists of both sides of their first three singles (minus “Hello, Coffee Girl”), plus lots of covers – including a crazed version of “I’m a Man”. Their “Over, Under, Sideways, Down” is good too, supposedly they were considered the Yardbirds of Japan. I haven’t heard their version of “She’s a Rainbow” yet.

Akira ‘Ken’ Narita – vocals, harp
Masao Hayase – vocals
Hideki Ishima – lead guitar
Masayuki Hirai – rhythm guitar
Hiroshi Arakawa – bass
Yukio Awamura – drums

The following info is from

In 1964, future Flower Travellin’ Band guitarist Hideki Ishima arrived in Tokyo from his hometown Sapporo. He got together with guitarist Masayuiki Hirai, bassist Hiroshi Arakawa and drummer Yukio Awamura to form an eleki band which took the name The Outlaws. However, the clubs in which The Outlaws played also demanded that they employ a singer. Inspired by The Spiders’ twin lead vocalists, The Outlaws decided to recruit Akira Narita and Masao Hayase.

However, the Golden Best Japan site has a different story (based on info from Ken Narita’s blog and an issue of DIG JAPAN): that Ken Narita had been in the Jarows with Ishima in Hokkaido, and that they traveled together to Tokyo. Masao Hayase and Yukio Awamura had already formed the Outlaws and specifically asked Narita to join. Narita insisted Ishima join as well.

Japrocksampler continues:

Invited to support their heroes The Spiders, the band then changed their name to The Beavers just prior to making their stage debut.

Here too Golden Best Japan has a different take, saying the Spiders had signed the band to their production company “Spiderduction” as the Outlaws and that “Right before their debut album [I think this should read debut single] was released in June 1967, they were told by King executives to change their name to something cuter and chose The Beavers.”

Japrocksampler again:

Their first single ‘Hatsukoi No Oka (The Hill Of The First Love)’ b/w ‘Hello, Coffee Girl’ was released in July 1967 was not a big hit, but was considered something special by fans of the Group Sounds scene.

The second single ‘Kimimaki Sekai (The World Without You)’ fared better but still failed to chart, as did their [fourth] 45 ‘Itoshi No Santa Maria (Saint Maria, My Love)’.

The band’s sole LP Viva Beavers was released thereafter but, at the end of 1968, after the release of their fifth failed single ‘Nakanaide Nakamaide (Please Don’t Cry)’, Ishima recognised that the GS boom was faltering. Ishima split the band when he was invited to join The Flowers by Yuya Uchida.

Band members’ names and release dates from Kurosawa Susumu’s (黒沢 進) Nihon Rock ki GS-hen (Japan Rock Chronicles: Group Sounds Compendium).

Their third single, Kimi Suki Da Yo / Koishite Aishite

Akira Ifukube

Not garage music today, but some rare tracks from my favorite soundtrack composer, Akira Ifukube (or to give the name in the proper order, Ifukube Akira).

He wrote the music for the original Godzilla film, and also for dozens of other films: horror, monster, sci-fi, samurai epics and serious dramas. I wish I had bought every one of these CD compilations when I was in Japan, but I was lucky enough to come away with a couple of them as they’re not available here in the U.S.

The site for '60s garage bands since 2004