Wanna Hear Some Strange? -By: Johnny Mystery

Written by on July 16, 2022

Time to geek out with some songs you’ve probably never heard. Most obscure, some were hits, all included for reasons which will be explained as we go along. Every one of them can be found easily online. You should give them a spin at least once because life is too short to listen to music that sucks.

“Fight Fire” by The Golliwogs: Before they were Creedence Clearwater Revival they were The Golliwogs. So what’s in a name? Duh…they had hits as CCR. John Fogarty and the boys released several 45s on Fantasy Records before becoming CCR and this one is the best. It has the Creedence feel to it and Fogarty’s vocal is in top form. This is included on the Pebbles box set, which is a must for all garage fans.

“White Lies and Blue Eyes” by Bullet: Hey, it’s a hit! Went top 20 in the Fall of 1971. Often cited as one of the first power pop records. Probably the first power pop U.S. hit as the great Badfinger from England was also kicking out power pop around that time. Dig that horn arrangement! Songs like this were getting fewer and fewer as the charts were being overrun by the likes of The Carpenters, Bread and Olivia Newton John. No wonder we went from AM to FM….

“Captain Groovy and his Bubblegum Army” by Captain Groovy: This is the fully produced theme song to a cartoon that never happened, and I so wish it did. Who knows what it would have been about? Not me but I’ll bet it would have been trippy. Released on the ill-fated Super K label about 1969-ish, it is one of the heaviest bubblegum records ever. Full of fuzzy guitars, massive organ and swirling riffs. Captain Groovy’s gonna take you away. Yeah right, I wish….

“Hey Joe/Midnight Hour” by The Haywood’s  It’s a double sider by The Haywoods….yes, those Haywood’s…as in Bo Donaldson and the…as in “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” AM gold. Not a great record by any stretch but still better than anything they made after they sold their soul to the company. Besides, you gotta respect a band that puts out a record of two of the most played tunes of the 60’s. The band showed some respect to The Leaves by doing an arrangement of “Hey Joe” just like theirs. I never even knew about this record till I learned that Bo himself found a few copies kicking around his attic and he was selling them for 500 clams each. Hey Bo, what’s the deal? Have the Billy royalties dried up already?

“Midnight Hour” by The Wanted: Now here’s a version of “Midnight Hour” that’s pretty damn cool. This Detroit band came up with their own intro and bridge that truly makes it their own. I’ve got quite a few versions of this classic, first done by Wilson Picket and it’s become one of my favorites. I first found a nice scratchy copy, (I like scratchy, builds character), on A&M Records during one of my marathon crate digs down at Jimmy’s shop on River Street. Big smiles came up when we slapped it on the turntable as this was a find! Looking it up, I found it was first released on Detroit Sound Records and even that copy was selling for Chicklets. In other words, it’s a bonafide rare obscurity from 1966 that won’t break the bank.

“In The Pines” by Tiny Tim: You wanna talk strange? This is the one. I have no doubt you’ve heard Nirvana’s version, which is commonly known as “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” Blues folks have also heard the magic 12-stringer fingers of Leadbelly belt out his haunting standard. But I guarantee you’ve never heard anything like Tim’s version. A single acoustic guitar and Tiny’s unmistakable vocal, kicks things off as it quickly swells into a “House of the Rising Sun” feel. The creepy organ solo is outstanding as Tim belts out the final lyrics then goes on to have a nervous breakdown as the organ drones. This song straddles the genres of blues and Southern Gothic. You come on board thinking it’s going to be a novelty song, but you’ll come away with a whole different perspective. It’s quite the feat from a cat who spent his life covering music from the Vaudeville era. Ironically, it’s a serious song made by an artist nobody took seriously. Found this on a two CD compilation from Red Bird records. As if things couldn’t get weirder.  Now get out and hit the bins!


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