Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Make way for the Moppets!!

East Coast Girls who Strummed with Style!

(The Moppets in '66)

Back in 1965, four girls came together at Mount Holyoake College, MA to form a band; organised by lead member, Beverly Rodgers. These girls became The Moppets, a name coined originally as a joke by Beverly's father and went on to some limited success, touring colleges extensively on the east coast, releasing a single and featuring in a number of publications before separating at some point in the late 60's. The original line up consisted of band members Phyllis Hess (organ), Beverley Rodgers (lead guitar), Alisa Damon (bass guitar) and Kathie Ross (drums); most of the girls provided the essential vocals!The girls were in constant demand, especially at men's college's!, and toured in a 1957 Cadillac hearse!, which went under the pet name of 'Giraffe,' because, according to Ailsa "it has such a long neck." As you can see from the pictures they really loved the guy! Sometimes the girls would drive hundreds of miles from one gig to the next, and were also renowned for their choice of attire! Here's a quote from the New York Times, which wrote a feature on them:

"At first the girls performed in black turtleneck shirts and stocking and brief, hip-riding gold skirts. "Somehow, I feel they look like Providence townies than Holyoke honeys," a Brown man is alleged to have said while a chaperone on the premise gaped and gasped, "I don't believe it...I don't believe it." But for whatever the reason they have since switched to "more feminine attire," soft, black crepe dressed with sheer blacks stockings and high heels. At Cornell, the boys thought they were great. "They're groovy; everybody's having a groovy time," said John S. McLaughlin, social chairman for Psi Upsilon, who had dropped by with his date."

They earnt around $150 for each performance, playing in colleges such as Cornell, Brown, Wesleyan and Amherst, and performed numbers such as the Boston Monkey and the Philly to great appreciation from audiences! Often stunned that a band of girls could play so good!

(The Moppets with the beloved 'Giraffe')

At some point the band went through a change of lineup, with Phyllis leaving the group and two new members joining the band! These two were Pamela Brandt and another girl called Gretchen Pfeifer.

Sometime in 1967 the band went their separate ways, however the desire to perform had not left some of the members. They, including Pamela and Gretchen, formed the outfit Ariel alongside two women (Anne Bowen and Helen Hooke) and again received press attention and were a popular touring group on the east coast. By 1970, though, the band came to a conclusion and again separated. However Anne reformed and reunited with her former bandmates, Pamela and Helen, to play at a women's festival, this time under the name of The Deadly Nightshade. Due to changing attitude to females in rock, the band managed to secure one of the first deals as an all girl band to a major label, RCA, and went on to release two albums to mixed reviews,... and also managed to fit in an appearance on Sesame Street! The band finally broke up in 1977 after 5 years. Pamela has subsequently become an acclaimed feminist writer.

(Deadly Nightshade in 1974)

In 1997, The Moppets reunited, together with another New England band called The Wombats, for a one off gig at their former university, Mt Holyoke.

(Moppets at Columbia University)

And after all that! Here is the sole Moppets release I know of and own, on Spirit Records...! The A side is a cover of The Supremes "Come See About Me", while the reverse is a cover of The Beau Brummels, "Cry Just a Little". Both are groovy with a great garage edge! Also included are all the pictures below and the article from the New York Times! Hope you enjoy both this and the whack of pictures of the lovely and pinoneering ladies!

The Moppets!

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Fish 'n' Chips! >--D "Would you like salt or sauce with that?"

This time Fish 'N' Chips are on this week's menu, and a mighty tasty portion it is! Hailing from the New Jersey of borough of Bergenfield, the band formed in high school, managing to record this single during the mid 60's. The band members consisted of Steve Mann on guitar, Rich Kleckner providing bass and vocals, and Don Swicker manning the drums. Also included were Pete Trugiani on guitar and Bruce (Fish) Herring providing the dancing?! and additional vocals. Donning the great name of Fish 'n' Chips to captialise on the invasion of the British they manage to open for a number of acts who are world famous today. The band itself were short lived but you can check out the great chunky slice of early bubblegum below! Also here's a pic of the likely lads themselves!


Saturday, 18 August 2007

Thank Goodness for Peanut!

For the first feature I have chosen to showcase one of my favourite Brit Girls, the wonderful Peanut! Born Katherine Farthing in The Port of Spain, Trinidad she moved she moved to the UK in 1962 at the age of 11 along with her 7 brothers and sisters. After securing a contract with Pye Records she released 4 singles under the name Peanut, comprimising Thank Goodness for the Rain/I'm Not Sad, Home of the Brave/I Wanna Hear It Again, I'm
Waiting for the Day/Someone's Gonna Be
Sorry and I Didn't Love Him Anyway/Come Tommorow during the mid 60's.

4 of these were released as an EP in Japan (shown above and right), which I wish I had! Katie then released a few singles under her real name before joining the Rag Dolls with her brother Mac around 1967/68. However her biggest success came when she and her brother joined together in the duo Mac and Katie Kissoon and had chart hits with a cover of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep (the definitive version in my opinion I think!) and also Sugar Coated Candy Kisses and Don't Do It Baby in 1975. Moving on to a career as a successful backing singer, she has worked with artists such as Elton John, George Harrison and Robbie Williams. Check out this clip of her closing with Eric Clapton with Wonderful Tonight!

Here I offer those first four singles! Hope you like them as much as I do! For me, she's great for so many reasons, one of them being the way she pronounces the word 'tear' on Thank Goodness for the Rain. However the emotive tenacity evoked by her voice resembles a certain Shangri-La, which is great of course! Also producing he best cover of a Beach Boys song....ever...dosn't go amiss! This may or may not be due to the fact with working with genius producer Mark Wirtz (great guy!) but I'll let you decide! ^___^