Just when you think you've heard it all! The fun thing about digging through a box of random records is coming across stuff you've never heard before. Here are Jumpin' Joe's top 10 discoveries of 2023!
10 - Dave Clark Five: Maze of Love
Dave Clark Five got plenty of airplay when they first came on the scene, and the oldies stations loved playing their hits from 1964 and 1965, but their later recordings were ignored.
This is an absolute killer that somehow got released as a B-side in 1968. The A-side is The Red Balloon. Maze of Love is certainly influenced by The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper."
#9 - Chilliwack: Fly At Night
Requested over the summer during Retro Radio - The 70s Edition, Jumpin' Joe spun this during the all-Canada show in September. This British Columbia band originally formed in the 1960s as The Collectors before evolving into Chilliwack, which is also the name of a town outside of Vancouver. "Fly At Night" was released as a single on Mushroom records in 1976, and the song reached #7 in Canada but only hit number 75 in the United States. Should have been a classic rock staple (but then it would have worn out years ago). In any case, crank this up to 11!
#8 - It's All Meat: Feel It
Holy turntable! This one is a scorching proto-punk freak-out! It should remind you of Country Joe & The Fish's "Rock & Soul Music." This Toronto band did not get their name from an Eric Burdon & The Animals song, but rather from a tag line in a 1969 dog food commercial, "100% meat, no filler." There's no way this would have charted on top 40 stations back then, but it's getting a chance on the airwaves once again as Jumpin' Joe spins it down in the basement!
#7 - The Golden Dawn: My Time
If you dig the 13th Floor Elevators, then you'll dig this cut from The Golden Dawn's "Power Plant" album. Originally recorded in 1966, International Records delayed the release of this album by nearly two years! As a result, critics unfairly considered The Golden Dawn as a 13th Floor Elevators copycat. Special thanks to Mad Ron in Chesterland, Ohio for requesting this one!
#6 - The Shays: This Hour Has Seven Days
The Shays, fronted by David Clayton Thomas, had a hit up in Canada with "Take Me Back" in 1965. Thomas left the band shortly thereafter, but the Shays continued on without him. In 1966, they recorded this great Rolling Stones rip off (Time Is On My Side). The title of the song comes from a CBC TV program. It's the third of three Canadian singles on this top 10 count down.
#5 - Jerry Williams: Crazy 'Bout You Baby
This great early 70s rock record was requested by Jeremy in Bothell, Washington. This should have been a hit; plain and simple. It appears only promo copies of this 45 were made, which means that the record was eventually shelved, and the song doesn't appear on any album. Somehow Jeremy found out about the record and notified Jumpin' Joe. Instant hit!
#4 - Roxy Music: Pyjamarama (Live Version)
We now turn our attention away from the 45s and to the LPs. Roxy Music got their break in the United States in Cleveland, Ohio, thanks to Kid Leo and the support of WMMS. Roxy Music also got plenty of airplay on WUJC (WJCU). Jumpin' Joe played the live version from the Viva LP, but here's Roxy Music on a European TV show performing it live. It's a bit different than the original studio recording. Sometimes the live versions are better than the studio recordings!
#3 - Apple: Buffalo Billycan
Fantastic British psyche-pop record from 1968. The song was recently issued in a box set called "Think I'm Going Weird." Special thanks to Ray Carr from the Ray Carr Show on 89.3 WCSB for sending this to Jumpin' Joe!
#2 - Alvin Stardust: My Coo Ca Choo
This song has a really fascinating history. Wanting to cash in on the glam rock craze, record producer Peter Shelley created the persona Alvin Stardust, a name inspired by David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. Shelley wrote and recorded the single "My Coo Ca Choo," which at times sounds like a rip-off of "Spirit In The Sky." To Shelly's surprise, the song climbed to #2 on the UK Charts in 1973, but he had no interest in performing live or making public appearances. Shelly recruited Shane Fenton (born Bernard Jewry) to take over the role as Stardust.
In the video below, Jewry is lip-synching to Shelley's voice in the song. However, in real life, Jewry (as Alvin Stardust) actually sounded very similar to Shelly. Stardust would go on to record 11 UK top 40 hits. The follow-up single "Jealous Mind" (actually sung by Jewry) reached #1 on the UK charts. None of the singles ever charted in America.
#1 - David Werner: One More Wild Guitar/Whizz Kid
A lost glam rock gem takes the #1 spot this year! This is actually the first two songs of Werner's Whizz Kid album, but since "One More Wild Guitar" segues into "Whizz Kid" both songs were included as Jumpin' Joe's #1 discovery of 2023. How did Jumpin' Joe discover this one?
Longtime WJCU listener Gary Payne in Cleveland Heights e-mailed Jumpin' Joe before one of the Super 70s Weekends and requested "Whiz Kid." Payne remembers Kid Leo playing the song on WMMS in 1974, and then it disappeared off the airwaves. Payne was kind enough to let Jumpin' Joe borrow the Whizz Kid LP so he could play it. Since playing it, other Basement Dwellers have e-mailed in saying that they too remember hearing it played on WMMS back in 1974, and couldn't figure out why it then fell off the face of the earth.
David Werner, a Pittsburgh native, recorded two albums for RCA and one for Epic. He composed "Cradle of Love," which was recorded by Billy Idol in 1990.
"One More Wild Guitar" and "Whizz Kid" have once again seen the light of day and are back on the FM airwaves in Cleveland on WJCU!
What do you think? Are any of these songs new discoveries for you too?
Comment below and let Jumpin' Joe know!