Thursday, June 10, 2010
This is the record that spawned the massive international instrumental hit "Liquidator" by the Harry J All Stars [Hippy Boys]. It's quite a convoluted story: Harry Johnson was producing a session at Randy's for a vocal by Tony Scott. Scott was not a prolific artist, with about a dozen tunes to his credit. Apparently, Scott wasn't singing to the best of his abilities on "What Am I To Do Now" and sold the master tape of the unfinished track to Harry J, but without securing a copy for himself. (However, Glen Adams claims that the original singer of "What Am I To Do" was not Tony Scott but guitarist Noel "Sowell" Bailey, later of the Roots Radics.) The Hippy Boys felt a little bad for Scott over this, and recorded a remix for him (this record).
Harry J then took the backing tracks he'd bought from Scott and put an organ solo by Winston Wright over them, which became the smash "Liquidator". After securing airplay on Britain's influential Radio One with Tony Blackburn, the tune spent five months on the charts there, peaking at #9 in October, 1969. This song became a sort of anthem for the white reggae-loving "skinheads" ("Liquidator" is considered emblematic of "skinhead reggae"), and to this day is a heavy pre-game/halftime favorite at football (soccer) matches throughout England. It serves the same sort function as a rallying sports anthem there, as "Sweet Caroline" by Niel Diamond and "We Are The Champions [We Will Rock You]" by Queen do in the U.S. "Liquidator" has been reissued and remade several times, and is the official song of the Chelsea football team. To see the fans rocking out to the original "Liquidator", check here:
What happened next was that Mavis Staples of the Stax act the Staples Singers heard "Liquidator" while vacationing in Jamaica and loved it. With new lyrics written by Alvertis Isbell, the Stax team back in Memphis remade the "Liquidator" track, keeping it mostly true to the original at Mavis's request. This became the smash soul hit "I'll Take You There". Stax paid Harry J a sum of money for using the musical concepts of "Liquidator", which in large part enabled Harry J to build his first studio. Sadly, the Hippy Boys never received proper credit or shared in the financial rewards generated by "Liquidator".
And the story doesn't end there, but in fact begins here: all of the above three songs are based on the riddim of Alton Ellis's 1968 smash "Girl I've Got A Date" on the Treasure Isle label, though the tune's progeny use a new riveting intro and the feel is two-stroke reggae as opposed to the late ska arrangement on Alton's record.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
This garage punker popped up on a youtube feed I have.
Seeing the Sir John A. record label has reminded me that I want to post some info on the 'Yohawks & Squirrels' of Ottawa I'm trying to investigate for kicks along with other Ottawa 60s scene stuff I come across.
A member of my scooter club who'd grown up in the 60s in Ottawa posted a link on Canada Day to this info regarding a band made up of older gentlemen called the Yohawks in Ottawa:
"Before most of you were born there were Yohawks and Squirrels. mmmmm,
I still remember my suede desert boots." - Lorne B.
The History of the Yohawks
The story of The Yohawks dates back to the days of the "British Invasion", just before the Summer of Love, and long before commercial radio became formatted for specific music genres and listener demographics. "Back in the day" bands would book four hours of studio time in Montreal (Ottawa didn't have a professional studio then) and record an A side and a couple of B sides, send the master off to the Smiths Falls RCA pressing plant, and hear themselves on CFRA, CKOY, or CJET two weeks later.
THE PLAYERSIn the late sixties, as part of the Five D, an
It was appropriate to find a new identity for this project, as the material in no way resembles the "bubble gum" sound of Ottawa's first "boy band". After several attempts at finding a name (some funny, some rude) the band settled on The Yohawks. The name has a special meaning and a history in
Heres a little blurb I came across on google in an Ottawa Police Recommedation:
The phenomenon of street gangs is not new. People who lived in Ottawa in the late sixties and early seventies would be familiar with the Squirrels and the Yohawks, two prominent gangs of that time. From anecdotal accounts, members of these gangs limited their criminal activity to minor property crime and assaults. Members occasionally possessed knives; however, they were seldom if ever used. The rules of engagement for disputes between rival groups were clear; fight involved one on one and when someone was down the fight was over.
I recognized the Yohawk/Squirrel reference because it was mentioned in an article by Ottawa native Jeremy Gluck. Gluck moved to england in the late 70s and was the lead singer in The Barracudas who attained some success with their hit Summer Fun.
Barracudas - Summer Fun:
"Gluck grew up in Ottawa, the capitol city of Canada. But his heart was set on rock an roll, and he knew it wasn’t going to happen in Ontario. He had his teen band phase…the first one was called the New Master Race and the second one was the Yohawks. When asked about these bands, Jeremy recoils as though confronted with a long hidden criminal record.
"Cripes, this really is crass exhumation! What sort of deranged maniac wants to know such things??", he pleads. On my end of the web I give a pitiless shrug. "Look", he says, "Thing is, The Yohawks never existed, well, they did, kinda...um...in Ottawa in the late 50s/early 60s there were apparently two gangs, The Squirrels and The Yohawks, that may respectively have been equivalent to Rockers and Mods. When I lived in Toronto my brother and I toyed with forming a band called The Yohawks...we did rehearse "Rumble" a few times. So, anyhow...I liked that name and once submitted a fictional review of a Yohawks album...sadly, it never ran! And I may have credited some obscure 4-track comp contribution to the name."
"The New Master Race thing is from even before that. I recall hitting the high school stage at lunch one day and launching into an impromptu cover of "Dirt" that had the preps and jocks white with horror...me being one of the great outcasts of the in-crowd then. So it was pretty much Drop-Out from the beginning...and drop in to REAL ROCK'N'ROLL. We did some great tapes, including one song called "I Got Nothing", that I only found out later, when Kill City was released, that had a doppleganger by the Ig hisself!!
In 1977 Jeremy couldn’t take it any more. He’d wanted to be where the action is for far, far too long. He pulled up stakes in Ottawa and headed to London"
Here is the article:
I mentioned it to a few people after the Canada Day post.
A friend asked her father about the gangs:
"my dad confirmed the existence of the yohawks and the squirrels yesterday. he said they were called the squirrels cause their hair was black and greasy! and the yohawks had long hair and looked like hippies.
there was supposed to be a big rumble at Carlingwood mall, but he doesn't think anything really came of that. neat huh? what would we do without dads to remember all this awesome shit for us?"
Totally, what would we do! My dads unearthed some cool tidbits on the Toronto 60s music scene for me over the past few years.
So far that is the little info I've compiled on the Yohawks & The Squirrels. Judging by the description, the Mods & Rockers comparison seems pretty fitting judging by the uniforms described in the yohawk history article.
Though I can't be sure any of these following groups were theme music for the gangs,
I'll post a few more Ottawa 60s tunes courtesy of tokensurfer, a youtuber who has a great wealth of Canadian garage & pop songs, and contributed many to the Wyld Canada compilation series (comically, according to him that series was created by an native Australian!).
Heres some stuff by the aforementioned Five D - Running Round In Circles
The Esquires - It's A Dirty Shame
The Esquires - Man From Adamo
Staccatos went on to become the Five Man Electrical Band who scored a substantial hit with Signs ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1Q7cP3ij5g ).
Staccatos - Half Past Midnight
Some surf inspired tunes:
I saw the Staccatos LP at a vintage shop and went back to pick it up a few days later but it was gone. If anyone comes across it, let me know, I'd still like a copy.
Staccatos - You Only Die Once
This group, Heart, I'd never heard of until I saw the label browsing Tokensurfers videos:
Heart - Treat Me So Bad
Heart - Help Me Down
Don Norman & The Other Four - Low Man ... super fuzz
Heres a link to more of Token Hippie54, formerly Tokensurfer's 60s Ottawa tunes, there are too many to post here:
TOKENHIPPIE54's Youtube Channel
And a link to an article about The Sir John A. records label:
If anyone has any more info, please let me know.
** New info **
My fellow DJ Kev. Pickles informed me that part of the style was drainpipe trousers and desert boots, with your socks shrugged or rolled down. Top this off with a plaid lumberjack style hunting jacket.
*** Update, Archived new article from Ottawa Citizen, Apr. 2nd 1965 ***
*** Update, April 13, 2011 ***
Updated some of the now dead youtube links.
Came across this tune on Youtube last year sometime. Very cool, Ottawa group the Townsmen doing a cover of Take A Heart by the Sorrows from England:
Townsmen - Take a Heart
The Sorrows - Take A Heart
The Sorrows - Take A Heart (live)
More Sir John A. Records stuff..
Eyes Of Dawn - Time To Be Going
If anyone who comes across this has any of this stuff on 45, let me know, I'll buy it.