One Hit Wonders #11: “LITTLE GIRL” by The Syndicate of Sound (Bell Records 1966)

San Jose’s The Syndicate of Sound reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966 with their proto-punk hit, “Little Girl”:

The band was formed in 1964 by members of Lenny Lee and the Nightmen and The Pharaohs as a San Jose supergroup: Don Baskin (lead singer/guitars), Larry Ray (lead guitar), Bob Gonzalez (bass), John Sharkey (keys), and John Duckworth (drums). Two years later, “Little Girl” became a local radio smash,  and Bell Records picked it up for national distribution. Baskin’s snarling vocals and the speed-freak jangling guitar sounds got teens movin’ and groovin’, and the song today is considered one of the progenitors of the punk movement of the 1970’s.

Bell demanded an album from the boys, and after Ray was replaced by Jim Sawyers, the Syndicate cranked one out in three weeks that’s a garage rock classic. Besides their hit and five other originals, the group performed covers of Chuck Berry’s “Almost Grown”, Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man”, Roy Orbison’s “Dream Baby”, The Hollies’ “I’m Alive”, Louis Jordan’s “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby”, and The Sonics’ “The Witch”:

The Syndicate of Sound broke up in 1970 after several unsuccessful attempts to return to the top of the pop charts. Twenty years later, Baskin, Gonzalez, and Sawyer reformed the band, and they still play West Coast dates to this day. Rock on, gentlemen, rock on!

Old dudes still rock: The Syndicate of Sound!


One Hit Wonders #6: ARE YOU A BOY OR ARE YOU A GIRL? by The Barbarians (Laurie Records 1966)

Garage rock bands sprouted up everywhere during the 60’s. Any teen who could master three chords on guitar or bang on a drum kit wanted to be a rock star, mainly because all the girls were ga-ga for teen idols. Cape Cod, MA was no different, and The Barbarians rose to #55 on the Billboard charts with their long haired anthem, “Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?”:

The difference between The Barbarians and all those other would-be Beatles was their drummer, Moulty, who had a hook in place of his left hand. Victor “Moulty” Moulton lost his hand in a homemade pipe bomb explosion at age 14, but that didn’t stop him from joining the rock revolution. He had his hook modified to fit a drum stick, then he and the band grew their hair out longer than the popular Beatle-bowl cut. Their unique looks helped land The Barbarians a gig in THE TAMI SHOW, a filmed concert featuring top groups like The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, and the one-and-only James Brown:

Moulty recorded an autobiographical tune called (what else?) “Moulty” under The Barbarians’ name, only the rest of the band was back in Boston, while he was in New York City. Instead, he’s supposedly backed by members of Ronnie Hawkins’ group The Hawks, who were soon to go solo and rename themselves The Band:

“Moulty” was featured on the seminal 1972 garage rock anthology NUGGETS: ORIGINAL ARTYFACTS FROM THE FIRST PPSYCHEDELIC ERA 1965-1968, complied by rock writer and future Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye. NUGGETS contains tracks by artists like The Electric Prunes, The Standells, The Shadows of Knight, The Seeds, The 13th Floor Elevators, and The Blues Magoos, among others, and is highly recommended. The CD is still available on Rhino Records; get your copy today!

Since this weekend around these parts we’re celebrating The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament (better known as The Portuguese Feast!), I’ll end this post with The Barbarians’ instrumental tribute to my favorite Portuguese sausage, “Linguica”! Til next time, peace out and rock on!

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