The Cryan Shames - Ben Franklin's Almanac
Destination Records 45, 1966
The Blue Things - Orange Rooftop Of Your Mind
RCA Records 45, 1967
Most of the time the trained ear can, upon hearing a mid-60s 45, determine if the band is of US or UK origin, but here are two fine examples of decidedly English-sounding singles by American bands from Chicago and Hays, KS. respectively. The Shames track is the flipside of "Sugar and Spice," revered the world over due to its inclusion on the original Nuggets. It goes through a good number of changes and a "Louie Louie" derived solo before closing up shop before 2:00 with some crashing freakbeat chords. They made some lovely psych-pop for Columbia thereafter, but nothing this tuff.
Rumour was that Blue Things mainman Val Stecklein had some relatives in the small Kansas town where I went to high school, and in my youth I would occasionally bump into an adult who, discovering my interest in music of the era, would spin tales about the time the Blue Things opened for the Beau Brummels in Salina or whatever. What I do know for sure is that The Blue Things went to Nashville and cut a pretty damned impressive (and now quite collectible) self-titled folk-rock LP for RCA in '66, then made a pair of astonishing fuzzy psych 45s before limping out of their major label period with a New Vaudeville Band soundalike called "Yes My Friend." "Orange Rooftop" was the first post-LP 45, and it's quite a departure. You can hear the entire RCA works on a CD issued by Rewind in 2001.