Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Wailers - Outburst!

The Wailers.
Like, Bob Marley and the...?
Absolutely not.

These Wailers were five white guys trying to tear it up on their first United Artist release from 1966:

Knowing absolutely nothing about this band, my first quest for knowledge led me to read the liner notes on the back of the LP, which are pretty funny...

"Brothers and Sisters, to witness THE WAILERS in action is to believe!...A personal appearance by THE WAILERS is a 'happening'...Soon the beat's into you, penetrating skull and belly...That haunting ever riding whang comes from the unique lead guitar of Neil Anderson...They are what they are."

The group, at that particular time, consisted of John "Buck" Ormsby on bass, Kent E. Morrill on organ and lead vocals, Neil Anderson on lead guitar, Ron Gardner on sax and lead vocals and Dave Roland on drums and lead vocals. Internet and Wikipedia research reveals that the entire group has passed on as of 2016.

There appears to have been many incarnations of the band since their formation in 1958 in Tacoma, Washington.  The only constant member was Morrill.  The band was also known as "The Fabulous Wailers" and even had their own record label, Etiquette, from 1962-1966.  Legend has it that Jimi Hendrix was a fan, and the band even helped give a start to garage rock greats, The Sonics.

Most of this record features songs entirely written by someone named R. Wayne Davies.  After a Google search, I discovered that Davies (aka Ron Davis, aka Ronny Wayne Davies) went on to become well known as a country song writer, and gained some pop fame as the writer of Three Dog Night's fourth album title track, "It Ain't Easy".

This is an interesting album.  It really is a hodgepodge of types of songs.  One song can be incredibly rocking, like "Out of Our Tree", and the next, a Left Banke type baroque pop number like, "Tears Don't Have To Fall".  The album not having a particularly distinct sound can be good and bad.  It's good if you like variety, but also, you find yourself just thinking that the different songs sound like a number of bands from the era could be doing them instead of thinking, "Oh yeah, this is the Wailers."

I give it two and a half stars.

Side One:

You Won't Lead Me On
I Want to Walk With You
Think Kindly Baby  (Makes me think of "Listen People" by Herman's Hermits.)
Out of Our Tree (Definitely the stand-out track.  I remember John putting this on one of the comps he would make for me while we were dating.  Grungy, hard garage rock at it's best.  The song was written by three members of the group and is the only track not penned by Davies.)
It's You Alone
Bad Trip

Side Two:

My Girl  (Reminds me of The Turtles.)
Turn and Run
Sit in My Room
Tears Don't Have To Fall  (Reminds me of The Left Banke.)
I'm Looking Down at You (Sounds a bit lounge-like.  I like it, but it's a completely different sounding band from the sound of "Out of Our Tree".)

Now, let's get John's take on this record:

Where did you buy this record and when?
"I bought it at Princeton Record Exchange.  I don't really remember exactly.  Had to be late 90's, early 2000's.  1999 or 2000, I think."

Do you own it in any other format?
"No.  Just the LP."

What is your over-all impression of this album?
"This is a weird and odd record for them.  These guys were contemporaries of The Sonics, predated The Sonics and they had records on the same label.  I don't know the whole back story, but they somehow hooked up with this R. Wayne Davies and recorded a whole bunch of his folksy songs.  This one song, "It's You Alone", started to break out and the band got picked up by United Artists.  That song became a hit in the San Francisco area, so they got booked to play at the Fillmore.  The people who came to see them expected this nice folk rock sound, but The Wailers busted out with "Out of Our Tree" and freaked everybody out.
This is kind of a departure for them with no original material except for two songs."

Favorite Track?
" 'Out of Our Tree'.  Killer garage classic with loud, booming drums."

How many stars out of five?
"A four.  There are some pleasant songs, but not what you'd expect from The Wailers."

Thanks for stopping by!
Same rules apply as before.  The first person to comment with a number between 1 and 12 and a number between 1 and 75 will help me randomly choose the next record.