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The Blue Things iTunes Tracks

The Blue Things

Formed in 1964 from the ashes of BUDDY HOLLY/SEARCHERS-inspired Hays, Kansas outfit The Blue Boys, The BLUE THINGS were the definition of guitar-orientated garage-pop much like counterparts The BEAU BRUMMELS. Initially the brainchild of lead guitarist Mike Chapman, the band comprised bassist Richard Scott, drummer Rick Larzalere and last in the door, vocalist/rhythm guitarist Val Stecklein (ex-Hi-Plains Singers).
Two early 45s for Ruff Records (`Mary Lou’ and `Pretty Thing-Oh’) were run-of-the-mill pop records, while a subsequent signing to R.C.A. in 1965 led to more adventurous jingle-jangle folk-rock fare, motivated to an extent by the sound and success of The BYRDS. Of course, comparisons with Brits, The BEATLES, The HOLLIES and The REMAINS were rife, even their attire was geared towards the Merseybeat-cum-British Invasion genre (polo-necks or shirt & black tie with leather jackets).
Three flop singles, `I Must Be Doing Something Wrong’, `Doll House’ (written about a young prostitute) and `The Orange Rooftop Of Your Mind’, did little to help sales of their overlooked eponymous debut LP, THE BLUE THINGS (1966) {*7}. Featuring Stecklein and group originals alongside readings of DYLAN’s `Girl From The North Country’, JIMMY REED’s `Ain’t That Lovin’ You, Babe’, DALE HAWKINS’ `La Do Da Da’, Wayne Carson’s `The Man On The Street’, Wally Gold’s `Look Homeward Angel’ and Mike Barton’s aforementioned `Doll House’, the LP (also entitled `LISTEN & SEE!’) lacked proper promotion, although it did contain liner notes from JOHN D. LOUDERMILK.
With psychedelia all the rage the following year, success bypassed the band, while Stecklein departed after laying down vox for their penultimate 45, `You Can Live In Our Tree’ (B side was a VANILLA FUDGE-like cover of `Twist And Shout’ with new frontman Larry Burton); their final outing was `Yes, My Friend’, flipped with a straight-edged version of SPENCER DAVIS GROUP’s `Somebody Help Me’.
Mike Kelley from Playmates Blues Band superseded Burton early in 1968, while the band (now under the control of new drummer John Brown) filtered into a band called Fyre. Meanwhile, recovering from a bout of ill health, Val made his comeback via folk band project GREY LIFE (1969) {*4}; sadly, he was to commit suicide in May 1993.
© MC Strong 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Feb2017

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