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June 11, 2008

ROCKIN' WITH TOM: Part 1- The Rattles

I have quite a bit of music knowledge in my old mind grapes, but I have to admit most of that delicious juice came from friends and fellow record nerds. I will try to give the credit to those people responsible for introducing me to stuff as I keep posting. Everyone loves a shout-out!

One of the many people I talk about/ listen to music with is Tom Shannon. I go over to his house and sit in his basement (it's an effing clubhouse of vinyl!) and we drink and share records. Every session is so full of possibilities. Boxes of 45s cover the floor and LPs are packed in shelves on the walls. Within reach are old punk zines, 45s, LPs, books, newspaper clippings, whatever you could need to while away 5 or 6 hours at a time. His knowledge of soul/garage/punk/rockabilly/blues is way deep and I have found some of my favorite tracks from our sessions. He also is a fountain of GR music wisdom and is not afraid to cold-call people straight out of the phonebook when he finds a weird local record. Then he goes over to the musician's houses and they give him stuff (sometimes).

I could post dozens of records that he has turned me on to, so I just chose one of my many favorites. These tracks are from a 45 by a German heavy rock band called The Rattles released in 1970.

When Tom first put on this record I was floored. The A side "The Witch" has weird lyrics ("Can you see the witch, can you see the witch, can you see the witch by my side?!!") revved up guitars and some spooky sounds/ violins/ kettle drums. When I did a little digging I was shocked to find out this song was sung by a woman (it really sounds like a dude singing falsetto to me!) and that it was a varified hit. They even went to Top of the Pops with it. And made some weird music films that unfortunately make the song seem cornier. [1] [2]


The B side is my favorite track here, though. Geraldine opens with some funky drums and an echoey piano. The lyrics are cheese (Geraldine, good lookin' lady!) but once the oboe (or is it bassoon?) busts in I don't even care. I am a sucker for unpredictable sounds and unusual instruments in music so the bassoon (or is it an oboe?) seals the deal for me and The Rattles.


Plus, check out this rad sleeve! (I took a photo of Tom's copy when I was over there, my copy is sleeveless.) I wonder if this sleeve ever sealed the deal that music was Satanic in some parent's mind?


Posted by matt at June 11, 2008 9:25 PM


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