Special 15

A Different Buddah

US 69 and The Lemon Pipers

L@YL - listen at your leisure.

When Buddah Records began in 1967 it did not seem destined to become the major label to cash in releasing 'bubblegum' pop-rock records. Among the initial 20 releases on 45 were records by Captain Beefheart, Zalman Yanovsky, who had left the Lovin’ Spoonful, and The Five Stairsteps, who had recorded for Curtis Mayfield, refashioned as The Five Stairsteps and Cubie. The first release by the Lemon Pipers, one side of which is featured in the second set, was hardly 'bubblegum'. Things began to change when 1910 Fruitgum Company came out with Simon Says/Buddah 24, as the first release of 1968.

The chewy pop-rock may have resulted in most of the hits but a few interesting records, including albums, managed to find their way to rock fans as late as 1969 and 1970. This show features one such record, by a fairly obscure band named US 69 and several aspects of the Lemon Pipers that are quite different from their stylized, Paul Leka supervised pop.

Side one of the US 69 album, Yesterday’s Folks begins the show, and I include the first three cuts. The final track on side one, while it has moments, I have excluded. Some aspects of this record remind me of Blood Sweat and Tears, or the more obscure group, the Serfs, which included organist Mike Finegan. There is a surprising and fresh mix of soul, pop and jazz rock here, and the lead vocals are strong enough to make it work.

Before playing the rest of Yesterday’s Folks, I programmed a set of Lemon Pipers. Danger is the B-side of the first Lemon Pipers 45 while No Help From Me is the flip of Green Tambourine. Both of these tracks are very good ‘garage psyche’ of the Nuggets sort. Ask Me If I Care, written by a friend of the band who was also a rock journalist, is accomplished country rock with wonderful guitar playing. Through With You, which once upon a time got FM airplay where I grew up in the southern Midwest, and else where, might not be very sophisticated in its references and steals from Eight Miles High, by the Byrds, but it has some fine, trippy effects and psychedelic guitar. It also might be what the band was like when it played the San Francisco Fillmore with some regularity in 1968 and 1969. I don’t think ANY of the popular ‘bubble gum’ bands that made the label’s fortunes toured much at all, much less became popular at the Fillmore.

Set 1

  1. I’m On My Way (A Patch of Blue)
  2. Yesterday’s Folks
  3. I’m A Nobody
    US 69

Set 2

  1. Danger
  2. No Help From Me
  3. Ask Me If I Care
  4. Through With You
    The Lemon Pipers

Set 3

  1. I Hear You Talkin’
  2. Miss Goodbody
  3. Never A Day Goes By
  4. 2069: A Spaced Oddity
    US 69


Posted on September 7, 2015 .