Fuzz Acid & Flowers: This Berkeley-based band were one of the first wave of Bay Area rock bands. Sokolow came from a very musical family and owned a five string banjo by the time he'd reached High School. Mandell was an old High School friend of his, who earlier played with a band called The Dune Patrol in Santa Barbara. Joe Luke was the drummer in the original line-up, which played at the first Family Dog Longshoreman's Hall concert. With folk musician, O'Connor, on bass they started gigging at the Jabberwock where Berkeley's only other rock band at the time, Country Joe and the Fish, were the houseband. Through The Fish they met Chris Strachwitz who had earlier recorded their Rag Baby EP and he recorded them on a four track EP in 1966. This is now rare. The tracks were Where Does Love Go, Down In The Basement (which was later re-recorded for the album), What Am I Doing Here? (also on the album), and I Got To Get Out Of This Dream. By this time Oswald, who'd played with various blues and jazz outfits, had replaced Luke on drums.
Fuzz Acid & Flowers: This 'bubblegum' outfit came from Linden, New Jersey. Their records were produced by Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, who masterminded the 'bubblegum' movement and were behind other key acts like The Music Explosion and Ohio Express. Essentially a 'singles' band they made an immediate impact with Simon Says, which has become a classic party song and, in addition to being a Top Ten hit in America, it also made No. 2 in the U.K. (although it was their only major hit here). They enjoyed other success in the US, particularly with 1-2-3 Red Light and Indian Giver. Their Hard Rode album was by an entirely different line-up. There may come a time when collectors take an interest in their first four albums. Bruce Shay was their bass player on their second, third and fourth albums and Chuck Trois (ex-Soul Survivors) was also in the band at some point. Mark Gutkowski sang the lead vocal on the first two 45's and plays organ, whilst his brother played rhythm guitar. One interesting thing about this group is that the following 45s, Goody Goody Gumdrops and 1-2-3 Red Light, were entirely sung by members of the Philly-based doo-wop group, Billy and The Essentials, who had a few 45s out in the early and mid '60s. ~ (Vernon Joynson/Mike Markesich)
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