Tag Archives: Cab Calloway

Six Degrees of Your iPod: Kaleidoscope to The Amboy Dukes (with Rusty Day in between)

18 Jan

*I have a theory that all music is somewhat related. All artists have some connection (whether it be inspiration, concert, producer, etc.) with other artists which have connections with other artists. It may be confusing but it is most likely true. The iPod allows for all of this music to be randomly dispersed or, in iPod terms, shuffled. Six Degrees of Your iPod is an easy game to play. Go to your iPod (or other musical device) and play one song. Do not use that song. Then, after you make sure your iPod is set to random, skip to the next song. Starting with that song post six songs on the comments and attempt to connect the first and sixth song. If I am right, you will be able to find a connection between the first and sixth. And, that is exactly what I am going to try to do. Let’s play the musical version of the Kevin Bacon classic.*

The U.S. Kaleidoscope

1.) “Minnie the Moocher” by Kaleidoscope (US).

Kaleidoscope – not to confused with the UK psychedelic band with the same name – was a psychedelic folk band that operated between 1966-1970, releasing singles on Epic Records and then fading off into the abyss with many other talented bands like them. The band won their recording contract with Epic Records because of their stringed prowess. The group certainly knew how to play their strings. They also could play practically any genre of music. Seriously. Rock, blues, folk, jazz, middle-eastern; you name it they’d play it. This is evident in the song featured today. “Minnie the Moocher” is a jazz song first recorded by Cab Calloway (an influence on the group). It is based, both musically and lyrically, on Frankie Jaxon’s 1927 “Willie the Weeper.” Calloway’s version is famous for his call and response scatting, which Kaleidoscope attempts to imitate in their version (below).

2.) “Sleep” by The Dandy Warhols

3.) You’re the Cocaine” by Joshua James

4.) “My Fight” by Greg Laswell

5.) “Hang on Sloopy” by McCoys

6.) “Journey to the Center of the Mind” by The Amboy Dukes

“Journey to the Center of the Mind” is the pinnacle of The Amboy Dukes’ success. The song is a psychedelic-rock masterpiece. In 1968, the song was released as track 1 on side two of Journey to the Center of the Mind. The album is a solid piece of conventional late 60’s psychedelic music. The Amboy Dukes are most famous for launching the career of guitarist Ted Nugent.

The Connection

I think this is going to be an easy one. The last few times I have played Six Degrees I have been stuck with next to impossible connections. Today I get to play around with two American psychedelic bands that were playing music during the same years. The only difference is the type of psychedelic music. Kaleidoscope were playing psych folk in LA and The Amboy Dukes were playing hard psychedelic rock in Michigan.

This is actually too simple. I can take a shortcut on this one and immediately connect the record label. Kaleidoscope released their music on Epic Records and Ted Nugent, after dropping the Amboy Dukes band name in 1975, went to Epic Records. So, yes, at different times members of each band played under the umbrella of Epic Records. But come on, that’s too easy.

I have to choose something much more complex. Kaleidoscope’s band leader was David Lindley, who became a famous studio musician (mainly because of his proficiency playing a ton of musicians). His long list of collaborations includes one with Rod Stewart who had at one point of his career (before joining Faces) considered joining a supergroup named Cactus with Jeff Beck and others. Instead of joining Cactus he joined Ronnie Wood in Faces. Cactus did form eventually and it consisted of the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section, Jim McCarty of Mitch Ryder‘s Detroit Wheels and singer Rusty Day, who came from a short stint with The Amboy Dukes.

There you have it. I’m looking forward to your games below!

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