Tuesday, May 8, 2012


You ever notice how some bands are great on records and are HORRID live? Or you go see a band that does such a KILLER live show that you buy their CD and bring it home and the second the sound comes out of your speakers you immediately regret it? Happens all the time, doesn't it?

With the advent of YouTube, anyone can stream almost ANY performance by any band, especially if they appeared on TV. Yours truly has spent many, MANY hours looking at old footage by 60s artists on shows like Beat Club, Shivaree, Hullaballoo, Shindig, The!!!!! Beat, Ready Steady Go! and, of course, the old Ed Sullivan shows. Some groups come off really well live (The Hollies, The Seekers, The Who, and - surprisingly enough - The Pretty Things) and some, not so well (The Byrds, Led Zeppelin).

The Rascals are a very interesting case. I've owned their records all my life, and truly loved their records all my life. But since I saw (and heard) them on YouTube, the records pale in comparison - even though they're still great.

However, there was one Rascals record I never thought was all that wonderful - "Come On Up". It was one of the few tracks on their greatest hits LP that I'd always skip over. Compared to the soulful energy of their other 45s, "Come On Up", at least to my ears, is just plain sludgy. Of course, then I saw this YouTube video, and I realized that the song must have been a real rave-up in concert. But the record, to say the least, leaves me cold to this day.

Enter Thee Impalas. A Chicano soul/rock group from East L. A., they recorded two great singles for the Whittier label (home of Thee Midniters, the most popular Chicano band of all time). The first was a remake of the Barbara Mason soul standard, "Yes, I'm Ready", but for their second single, they must have consciously made up their minds to blow the doors off of the Rascals' 45, because it does. They took the Rascals' arrangement and stepped it up a few notches (much like The Rascals themselves did with "Good Lovin'", which The Olympics had the original hit with in 1965).

By the way, if you're interested in the world of Chicano Soul, here's a great website.

Thee Impalas - Come On Up (Whittier 506) - 1967

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