Year of Release: 1972
In the last entry, I mentioned the fact that one rarely finds genuine rarities in random piles whilst visiting second hand stores. There is only one tale I can tell which contradicts that fact, and it harks back to a time I was staying and working in Melbourne, and living close by to a giant thrift store on Chapel Street known as The Bazaar.
One of the stall holders in this giant indoor market had a wooden crate filled with old seven inch singles. Much of it was the usual fare you'd expect to find - Cliff Richard hits, The Beatles, Jimmy Little (remember how we talked about him?), and the usual load of old orchestral cover versions of the hits of the day. Nestling in that box, however, were some peculiarities that nearly made my heart stop. An Australian pressing of the Standells. Some Kinks singles with A-sides which were never issued in that form in the UK. Led Zeppelin singles.
Sadly, in each and every single case, I'd pick it up and it would be the same old story - whilst the singles all had unharmed sleeves, the condition of the contents was shockingly bad. I nearly cried when some US garage single looked as if somebody had been roller skating over the top of it - even with the naked eye, I could see the thing was completely unplayable. Had I been back in London, I might have bought these just as a talking point, especially as I had no knowledge that some of them even existed - there was absolutely no point in shipping them back from Australia, though.
I managed to find two exceptions in the box, a Led Zeppelin seven inch of "Black Dog", and the single you see above. The former was slightly warped around the run-in grooves, the latter torn around the label (as you can see) and slightly scratched, but still playable.
In case you're unaware, The La De Das were a New Zealand band who were quite successful in their home country for a period, and are best known in the UK for their storming garage punk single "How Is The Air Up There?", which found its way on to the Nuggets II box set. One of the finest garage singles not to emerge from America, it consists of sheer fuzz mayhem, a squawking organ, and some of the most sneering class warrior lyrics of the period about a wealthy girl.
By the seventies, however, the La De Das sounded like an almost entirely different band, to the extent that I found myself wondering if there were two bands of that name when I first played "Morning, Good Morning". It sounds nothing like a bunch of pissed-off blokes from Detroit singing through gritted teeth and smashing away at their instruments, and sounds more like a laidback bunch of bearded good old boys from Alabama playing with maximum proficiency. It was almost as if they'd spent their entire careers slowly travelling south across the USA, shifting their style as they went. It wasn't a hit in New Zealand, and they never did make it in the UK either, although a cover version they did of The Beatles "Come Together" apparently came close... until the Beatles released their version as a single (yet another example of this ludicrous sixties phenomenon for your notebooks.)
To be bluntly honest, the seventies La De Das leave me quite cold, but the below mp3s may be of interest to some. I've bundled in "How Is The Air Up There?" to try and make up for the possible disappointment that may ensue - and if you really have never heard that track before, that's a situation which needs to be rectified immediately.