December 13, 2023 Playlist

The Turtles "Present The Battle Of The Bands" (1968)
The Turtles "Present The Battle Of The Bands"  1968 (USA)
The greatest American "comedy rock bands" of the sixties were probably The Monkees, The Mothers of Invention, and The Turtles. The Monkees were, of course, a manufactured "fake group" whose TV comedy hijinks made them superstars for about 18 months, but the hit songs they cranked out were as "serious" as any teeny bopper material of the day (by which I mean, their hits weren't "funny"). The Turtles actually debuted a year ahead of Monkees and Mothers, jumping on the folk-rock boom with a bunch of Bob Dylan covers in 1965. But The Turtles were a lot like Zappa's group in inportant ways: both groups were goofballs with a taste for satire who were also older (and uglier) than most of their rocknroll peers. Though unlike The Mothers, Turtles managed to land a boatload of hit songs on Top 40 radio (no wonder really: Zappa was a first class social provacateur, while Turtles clowned around in sweater vests and sang teenage love songs). Much like The Monkees, around 1968 The Turtles rebelled against their strict pop-conscious management and the use of outside songwriters in order to become an artistically self-sufficient group (you know, like The Beatles). The result is Battle Of The Bands, a concept album where the concept is that they are a different band playing a different style on each track. Two of them became actual hits: "You Showed Me" was a great cover of an obscure early song from The Byrds (so many animal name groups!) But the big one was "Elenore": their final Top 10 hit which was clearly a parody of their earlier feelgood pop songs (especially the #1 smash "Happy Together"), but so slick and catchy it was a hit anyway (most radio listeners didn't get the joke in corny lyrics like "Elenore, gee I think you're swell" and that dumb "groovy / movie" rhyme). Among the deeper cuts on this record, take note of the heavy fuzz bass on "Buzzsaw" and funky drummin' on "I'm King Kamanawanaleia (We're The Royal Macadamia Nuts)" which were sampled in the hiphop era by Cypress Hill and De La Soul and probably others. Because these guys were pretty damn good musicians! So it was a natural fit for Frank Zappa to hire 60% of the lineup of this album (the two co-lead vocalists Howie & Mark AKA Flo & Eddie plus bassist Jim Pons). Thus "The Mothers mark II" Zappa bands of 1970-71 were really a merger of 3 Turtles and 3 Mothers (FZ only kept Don Preston and Ian Underwood from his 60's band) plus hotshot British drummer Aynsley Dunbar (Black Sabbath covered one of his songs!) This group never lived up to their potential due to twin disasters on their 1971 European tour: first, that casino in Montreaux burned down (as in the Deep Purple song) which destroyed all the band's equipment (and meant the tour would lose a lot of money). Worse, a week or so later in London a "crazed fan" ran up on stage and shoved Zappa into the orchestra pit, which left him in a wheelchair for 6 months. That was the end of that group! Most of the ex-Mothers then recorded The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie album in 1972, launching the next phase of Mark & Howie's career as "Flo & Eddie" which lasted into the 80's and added several more quality "comedy rock" records to their discography. And hey, I found this rare video of the 1972 Flo & Eddie band (with 5 ex-Mothers)! The duo also did session work as backup vocalists on some big songs including "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" by T-Rex and "Hungry Heart" by Bruce Springsteen! Final footnote: Turtles drummer John Barbata wound up in Jefferson Airplane and stuck around through most of their subsequent "Jefferson Starship" era. Coincidentally, in 1979 Jefferson Starship replaced Barbata with . . . Aynsley Dunbar, the drummer from the "Flo & Eddie Mothers" band!
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year Country
ChicagoFreeChicago III1971USA
Micky Dolenz
(the last surviving member of The Monkees)
Radio Free Europe (R.E.M.)Dolenz Sings R.E.M. EP (N)
2023 (7A)USA
Melvins & Helms Alee Data Control (Husker Du)Controlling Data For A Better Feeling Future (N)
2023 (Amphetamine Reptile)USA
Public Image Ltd.
Being Stupid AgainEnd Of World (N)2023 (PIL Official)UK
Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real Sticks And StonesSticks And Stones (N)
2023 (6Ace/Thirty Tigers)USA
Guided By Voices Romeo SurgeonWelshpool Frillies (N)
2023 (GBV inc.)USA
Descartes A Kant
Raindrops Of PoisonAfter Destruction (N)2023 (Cleopatra)Mexico
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets All Aboard The S.S. SinkerFronzoli (N)2023 (What Reality?)Australia
Speedy Ortiz Kim CattrallRabbit Rabbit (N)
2023 (Wax Nine)USA
Osees Unusual & CruelIntercepted Message (N)
2023 (Castle Face)USA
Goat Raised By HillsMedicine (N)2023 (Rocket)Sweden
Holy Wave HappierFive Of Cups (N)
2023 (Suicide Squeeze)USA
Woods The SeedPerennial (N)
2023 (Woodsist)USA
The Budos Band Passage To AshinolFrontier's Edge EP (N)
2023 (Daptone)USA
The TurtlesElenore
(by "Howie, Mark, Johny, Jim & Al")
The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands
The TurtlesOh, Daddy!
(by "The L.A. Bust '66")
The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands
The TurtlesBuzzsaw
(by "The Fabulous Dawgs")
The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands
The TurtlesChicken Little Was Right
(by "Fats Mallard & The Bluegrass Fireball")
The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands
The Mothers (Frank Zappa with Howie, Mark & Jim from The Turtles)Call Any Vegetable (live)Just Another Band From L.A.1972USA
Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan from The Turtles and Mothers)Feel Older NowThe Phlorescent Leech And Eddie1972USA
Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan from The Turtles and Mothers)I Been Born AgainThe Phlorescent Leech And Eddie1972USA
Daryl Hall & John OatesAlone Too Long (John Oates)Daryl Hall & John Oates1975USA
Robert Fripp (with Daryl Hall)Disengage II (alternate version from CD reissue)Exposure1979UK/USA
Scott Walker (with Billy Ocean!)Track ThreeClimate Of Hunter1984USA/UK
David BowieSound And VisionLow1977UK
Tom JonesRight Place, Wrong Time (Dr. John)Somethin' 'Bout You Baby I Like1974UK (Wales)
NicoFrozen WarningsThe Marble Index1968Germany
Kate BushWowLionheart1978UK
U.S. Girls Navy & Cream / Window Shades (live)Lives (N)
2023 (4AD)USA/Canada
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Swan Song (extended version)The Silver Cord (N)2023 (KGLW)Australia
The Orb Living In Recycled TimesPrism (N)2023 (Cooking Vinyl)UK
Goat The Gate Is Open (The Temple Lies Within)The Gallows Pole: Original Score (N)2023 (Rocket)Sweden
Kurt Vile Must Be Santa (Mitch Miller)Back To Moon Beach (N)2023 (Verve)USA
Osees LADWP Hold (bonus track)Intercepted Message (N)
2023 (Castle Face)USA

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