Limey & The Yanks for a Friday night. Demo sessions from roughly 1965-1966 (no dates on the box, unfortunately), presumably pre-dating their single releases for Starburst and Loma, recorded at the legendary Gold Star Studios.
Unless you’re a devotee and collector of West Coast 60s bands, Limey & The Yanks may not ring many bells. They weren’t together for that long (1965-1968), officially released two singles and, like so many bands before, during and since, came and went – rode a wave of local popularity, were on the verge of breaking out to the national scene, but for whatever reason didn’t click or the label was not prepared to do what needed to be done to push the band over the top. Granted, they have been considered a Garage Band – and historically, most garage bands never really made it past one or two singles before fading from view, but they had a much larger following which could have translated to a national audience.
But Limey & The Yanks were different to a degree. They were very popular in Southern California, were household names on the Sunset Strip (during a time when a lot of household names on the Strip went on to become cornerstones in West Coast Rock), and received a lot of exposure via TV. I don’t recall actually hearing either of their singles on any of the top-40 stations at the time, but they did appear on numerous ads for everything from the Teenage Fair to The Cinnamon Cinder and got much print space in The KRLA Beat and the KFWB Hitline; two extremely popular newspapers published by two of the preeminent top-40 stations in Los Angeles at the time.
These demos, I suspect, are first recordings of the band – they sound rough in places and not with the assurance a band with a lot of club dates has – it’s like a guitarist and callouses; the harder they are, the more facile the playing. But you can tell, even at this early point, there was a spark there that would only improve with time.
There is a historic importance to these demos – they represent what the big picture looked and sounded like on the West Coast during the mid-late 1960s. We tend to confine the view of the scene to that of The Doors, The Byrds, Love, Canned Heat and several others. We tend not to take into consideration all the other bands which created the backbone for the scene to flourish. Bands like The Palace Guard, The Leaves and Limey & The Yanks and many others, were an integral part of that – taking all of them into consideration, you realize there was a very rich and vibrant scene on the Strip in the mid-1960s – a scene that was always full of surprises.
Crank it up.
Special thanks to Andrew Sandoval for digging into his archives and pulling up a great photo – it’s icing on the cake!