Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Top Ten Garage And Beat Parka Avenue Finds of 2012

I must admit, I'm more into Soul and RnB records these days. But that doesn't mean I turn my back on some hypnotic fuzz or a hard driving beat. As a Mod DJ, it's always good to mix it up a bit. A foot stomping crowd will appreciate you for it.

I'm often asked why I only buy 45s. Does everything have to be logical? What can I say, I like them. Mod DJs are an odd and peculiar breed. When you go through the trouble of looking for a record for months, it means you are committed to it and it's not something you burnt onto a CD the night before. Some can't believe that I'm going to carry a few boxes of 45s for a DJ gig at the Las Vegas High Rollers Weekend. If you take into account the suits, the shoes and the records, it hardly leaves you any place for your toothbrush. At least I have my priorities straight. A toothbrush and a razor you can always find in a hotel lobby.

So here you have the Top Ten Parka Avenue Garage finds of the last 12 months. You can have a look at last year's list here. You can also listen to the entire list on the Parka Avenue Podcast on Mixcloud.

Some of these 45s you can have for the price of a good pint while others, you must dig a little deeper in your pocket to get.

1) No Place Or Time - The Echoes Of Carnaby Street - Thames

When I visited New Orleans in February 2010, I bought a CD of rare 60s Louisiana Punk. One of the best songs on it was a track from The Echoes of Carnaby Street. "Quite the Mod sounding band name...", I thought to myself. The reason why I bought the CD was because the record shop employee convinced me that I will never be able find the original 7". I took that as a challenge. Here it is now, part of my collection. If only someone out there can hook me up with a 45 from the Gaunga Dyns, I could make it worth your while.

2) Fortune Teller - The Hardtimes - World Pacific

Speaking of Louisiana classics, it's hard to beat Benny Spellman's Fortune Teller. This garage cover version by California band The Hardtimes can legitimately claim second place in my book. DJ Papa Bill is responsible for selling me this one.

3) Detroit - The Nocturnals - Embassy

From New Orleans, lets head north with this Canadian band from Vancouver, British Colombia. When you have a track that starts off with some heavy fuzz followed by soulful horns, you are in for quite an enjoyable ride. How I wish I could have seen them when they came to play Expo 67 in my hometown of Montreal.

4) Mal - Jenny Rock - Action

A second cover song making an entry in the Top 10. This French-Canadian version of Billy Joe Royal's Hush was popularized by British band Deep Purple in 1968. More psychedelic then Garage or 60s Punk, Jenny Rock's rendition is by far my favorite. In my opinion, this version is made for the dance floor. Even if it came out in my province, it's not an easy single to put your hands on. In demand on the 60s DJ circuit in Europe, it can fetch a pretty penny. Thanks Michel for finding me this copy!

5) Oh! Non - Les Internes - Match

Staying in the French-Canadian Garage well, this 1966 rocker is actually a cover of another Quebec group, Les Hou-Lops. Very little is known about Les Internes. Interesting fact, the B-side is the song Guantanamera by female singer Céline Charlot.

6) Doin' The Mod - Vandyke And The Bambis - Picccadilly

With lyrics like: "You gonna make, like you don't care. Put on the gear, man! A sharp suit and a cool, cool haircut. And a little bit of eye shadow too", it's hard not to like this 1964 UK release.

7) Low Man - Don Norman & The Other Four - Sir John A

There are a lot of reasons why I love this 45. First, the label has to be one of my favorite designs ever. Based in the Canadian Capital city, the label also bares the name of our first Prime Minister. The record with the original picture sleeve is extremely rare and one recently sold for $760! Unfortunately, mine doesn't have one.

Second, Low Man offers a healthy dose of fuzz and is a pure garage gem. As an added bonus, you'll find Otis Redding's Mustang Sally on the B-Side. The guitar solo in that version makes it worth owning it.

8) Somebody Stole My Thunder -  Georgie Fame - CBS

What does Georgie Fame do in a 60s Garage Top 10? First of all, it's hard to deny his Mod appeal. This 1969 floor shaker offers plenty of fuzz guitar (can you tell that I like some good distortion by now?) and falls on the heavier side of the Fame repertoire. I have to thank my friend DJ Midnite Cowbwoy for hooking me up with this one.

9) Don't Do It - Micky Dolenz - Challenge

Here's a cheapie for you. Micky recorded this hand clapping screamer in 1965 prior to being cast in The Monkees. But it was only in 1967, once The Monkees had acheived national acclaim, that the single was finally released. It reached #75 on the Billboard charts.

10) I Need Love - The Third Booth - Independence

I needed at least one record in the Top 10 that had some great organ in it. Here you have it!

You want to share your favorite 60s Garage or Mod track? Tell us about it in the comment section or join us on the Parka Avenue Facebook page.


  1. That's quite an A-List. That Don Norman 45 is a killer!

    1. Knowing you, you'll probably end up finding one soon. ;)

  2. Yeah, jealous of the Don Norman! I have a few John A. records, but nothing as desirable as that one.

    If its the same song, I think Guantanamera might originally be by this lady,

    I feel like someone from South America told me that while looking up roots of Ska covers, the Roland Alphonso/Skatalites did it as well

  3. Interesting. Thanks for the added info!

  4. Great stuff here. Thanks for sharing. I actually like the other side of the Dolenz single better, Huff Puff.