Thursday, April 12, 2012

We mentioned the other day that Chicago's own Shadows Of Knight had jumped out to a substantial lead in our on-going Favorite Garage Bands Poll.

But Chicago has a few other bands from the '60's that are making the list so far, too ...   

The Buckinghams:  Garage Band?  Not once they developed their slick, horn sound and turned into a hit-making machine in the mid-'60's.  But early on?  Maybe ... although I'd have to say they were more deeply rooted in R&B and The British Invasion than anything else.  That's why we were treated to early covers of James Brown and Beatles tunes like "I'll Go Crazy" and "I Call Your Name", each of which were given their own special spin by this talented young band.  Listen to these today and they're pretty raw ... as are early local hits like "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and "I've Been Wrong", all from their first USA LP.  (Notice though that even at this early stage of development, the horns had been fully incorporated into the sound of The Buckinghams, all of which helped to make them the most successful band to come out of Chicago during this era.)  I'm not so sure I'd classify them as a garage band ... but they HAVE earned twelve of your votes so far ... so others are clearly thinking differently.
The New Colony Six:  Without a doubt, in the pre-Ronnie Rice / hit ballads days, these guys were one of the precursors to the whole punk rock movement that would develop a decade later.  (In fact, a few years ago they were invited to perform at Cavestomp, the ultimate tribute to Garage Rock Bands held out in New York.)  Early tracks like "I Confess", "I Lie Awake" and "At The River's Edge" are perfect examples of what garage band rock was all about in the middle '60's.  Then they went "pop" and expanded their audience with tracks like "You're Gonna Be Mine" and "Love You So Much" ... and eventually, soft-rock / adult contemporary / MOR with beautiful ballads like "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like To Say".  If nothing else, it certainly proved the complete versatility of the band.  Watch them perform today and you'll find many of the early garage band tunes are back in the song line-up, playing right along side their biggest hits.  Second only to The Shadows Of Knight in our current poll amongst our local hit makers, The New Colony Six have already racked up 33 of your votes as a garage band favorite!
The Ides Of March:  Most of America only knows them because of "Vehicle", their #2 smash from 1970 ... but I actually used to stand outside the Berwyn home they practiced in and listen to these guys rehearse and, having gone to the same high school as they did, was able to watch them develop their sound over the years.  Those early tracks sound vintage and raw ... but oh so good!  Thanks largely to "You Wouldn't Listen", these guys have already earned thirteen of your votes thus far.  (Jim Peterik will tell you that "You Wouldn't Listen" was really a combination of a couple of sounds ... "Tired Of Waiting" by The Kinks and the soulful sound of The Impressions ... hardly what you think of when you think of your typical garage band influences.  Whatever their inspiration, the combination worked ... and "You Wouldn't Listen" hit The Top Ten here in Chicago in 1966.)
The Cryan' Shames:  Known for their beautiful melodies and perfect harmonies, this group may have been a little too slick and well-rehearsed to qualify as a garage band ... but so far 19 of you liked 'em enough to vote for them in our Favorite Garage Band Poll.  They put their own spin on The Searchers' "Sugar And Spice" and in the process made it THEIR song.  One of my early favorites, "I Wanna Meet You" was probably a little too "pop" to be considered garage ... but "Mr. Unreliable" wasn't ... and what about the hard-rockin' "Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles David Smith And Jones"???
Some of our Chicago neighbors are doing fairly well on the chart, too.  Votes have been cast for Michael and the Messengers, Underground Sunshine and The Robbs out of Wisconsin, The Amboy Dukes, Bob Seger and the Heard and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels out of Michigan and The Rivieras out of Indiana.
Every artist mentioned today is eligible for your votes ... and, in about a week or so, we'll give you a list of ALL the nominees thus far to help you guys decide which artists most deserve your votes.

Meanwhile, the polls are still open ... so vote early and vote often!  We're looking to determine The Top 20 All-Time Greatest Garage Bands as determined by The Readers of Forgotten Hits!