Scott Morgan Medium Rare
1.Full of fire
4.Hold On Baby*
5.The Monkey Time*
6.Open the door to your heart *
10.Zip a dee doo dah *
Performed by The Rationals
•The very last few copies of this album available as the record label no longer exists
•Rare recordings from 1970 to 2000 ( not duplicated on the Scott Box set !)
Posted June 2, 2001
SCOTT MORGAN GIVES THE GUIDED
TOUR OF "MEDIUM RARE"
By KEN SHIMAMOTO
The last non-sellout in a line of powerful, soulful, R&B-influenced rock singers from the sixties, Scott Morgan's enjoyed a lot of notoriety in the last couple of years, since the world of Rockdom at large belatedly discovered the joys of Sonic's Rendezvous Band. With all the attention focused on his work with the hard-rockin' Rendezvous (and his associations with Eurobrats like the Hellacopters and the Hydromatics), many listeners might be unaware of Scott's great strengths as a tonsil-tearing R&B belter and versatile songwriter. A great loss, but it's been hard to hear those sides of his work, as his solo albums on Revenge and Schoolkids are rarer than hen's teeth these days.
Now, with "Medium Rare," listeners can sample a tasty smorgasbord of Morgan rarities, spanning a whole spectrum of sounds from three decades of magnificent obscurity. As Real O Mind Records honcho Ginsberg prepared to send the cover artwork to the printers, Scott joined us at the Bar to give us a track-by-track rundown.
Full of Fire
"I bought it when it came out; I bought the single. I think it's like '75 or something like that. I always liked the song, I'm a HUGE Al Green fan. [The Rationals] met him early on in his career, when he was doing 'Back Up Train,' his first single, before he got on Hi Records, and we got a chance to back him up one time at the Rooster Tail, so I've always been a fan. That particular one was never a huge hit, so it's kind of attractive to me as an obscure R&B tune that people aren't really familiar with...they all know 'Love and Happiness' and all the hits and stuff, but not this one. [The Jones Bros.] were playing this house party, and Jubei [Hughes] the bass player, said "Let's go back and play an Al Green song." I started thinking about it and thought maybe we could learn it, and then we went out to California to record, and I had a couple of originals, and the rest of the band wanted to do 'Full of Fire' because it was in our live show. So we ended up doing that one. Jubei on bass, John Burke on drums, and Manny Alvarez on guitar. We recorded at the old Beach Boys' Brother Studio in Santa Monica; it's called 4th Street now. That was the second session we did...we did a session a year before, and I didn't even know it was the Beach Boys' studio. This guy walked in and said, 'Hey, this is the old Beach Boys studio, and I started looking around and seeing the sunrays over the door and stuff. Kinda freaky."
"The reason we did it was because we only had a basement tape of it. Geoff liked the song, but the recording wasn't good enough. [I thought] maybe I could do it for the next Hydromatics album, and he said, "Let's do it now." So he came out and we booked a session at a local studio, Perfect Balance, and he started getting nervous because we were supposed to be rehearsing the song, and he was here for a few days and there was no rehearsal going on. It got down to like the day of the session and he was ready to go home and forget about it, but the night before, he changed his mind and said 'Okay, we can do it.' I said, 'No problem, these guys are professionals.' Well, as it turns out, the whole session was a fiasco! The bass player thought it was some other day and never made it, so the engineer ended up playing bass on it. Scott Asheton was an hour late or something like that and just barely got it. The guitar player...we ended up using his rhythm part, but he botched the solo, so Geoff went home and said, 'What have I got here? I came all the way from Philadelphia, and I got NOTHIN'.' So he came back again and we booked Robert Gillespie to overdub the solo. (Robert used to play with Rob Tyner in what Rob was calling the 'New MC5,' and then everybody was really upset with him for calling it the MC5, so he called it the Rob Tyner Band. Robert was also in a band called the Torpedos with a guy named Johnny Angelos, a singer, who was in the Amboy Dukes for a time, although I don't think he's on any of their records. And then Robert and I played together with Gary Rasmussen and Johnny Arizona in Motor Jam.) We were going in this studio in downtown Detroit, Harmony Park, and they had the wrong ADAT machine. We needed a 20-bit, which is the new one, and they had a 16-bit. So I called a studio in Ann Arbor and I got a session for that evening, in Ann Arbor at 40 Ounce. And we came out and Robert did it in two takes. Geoff was finally happy. He took it home to Philadelphia and his engineer there overdubbed Hammond organ on it. Actually, we pulled it out of the fire somehow."
"This was our first demo for [the Scott Morgan Band]. When we formed the band, we intended to get a record deal and do everything professionally, and so we went in and cut this as a demo - my first demo mistake! Because I realized later that recording demos is about the dumbest thing you can do! Fred [Smith] told me that at one time; he's going 'Why are you recording DEMOS?' and I didn't get it 'cause I was doing everything by the book. You know how they say, 'You go in and record your songs and if they're any good, they'll know it and they'll sign you.' Well, it's all a bunch of bullshit. But this was my first attempt. I was trying to do something kind of creative. Especially with that kind of double-time thing at the end, the shuffle, and there's a lot of vocalists on it - Hiawatha and Caroline Striho are singing background with Kathy Deschaine - and Ron Cooke's on bass, Mike Katon and myself on guitars, and my brother Johnny and Scott Asheton on drums. We did the vocals the day Marvin Gaye died, his father shot him, so it was a kinda inspirational day for me."
Hold On Baby 92
"It was [the Rationals'] follow-up to 'Respect.' It didn't get played on the radio because they said 'Gonna get up and do the thing with you baby' is suggestive or something. So in the second version, when it says, 'She'll take a cigarette out,' I said, 'She'll roll a cigarette up,' just to kinda like stick it to 'em. I thought it was all so stupid. I thought the Rationals' original version was great; it had Bob Seger singing on it, and I was just disappointed that it never got played. When we did the [Rationals] reunion [in '91-'92], it was in the live show and we decided to re-record it. It was originally by Sam 'The Man' Taylor, and written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. I'm playing lead on everything on the Rationals reunion stuff. I don't really remember why, it just happened. I think maybe [Steve Correll] was a little bit out of shape from not playing for a long time, and I'd been playing guitar all along, so I guess I was tapped for the job."
Monkey Time 92
"The Major Lance song, written by Curtis Mayfield. It's just another song that I've always liked. We were big Major Lance fans. In the Rationals reunion show, we did a Major Lance medley of that and 'Um-Um-Um-Um-Um-Um' and 'Rhythm.' So we pulled that one as a logical choice for that session." Open the Door - "That was Darrell Banks, a local guy from Detroit, his song, that we actually played at Pioneer High School, at the talent show, so we went way back with that. That ended up being included in the live show, and that's how it ended up on the session."
Radio Hollywood ‘98
"Another Jones Bros. track from '98. That was the first session. I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard one day. We were just kinda doing the tourist thing, just kinda strolling down the boulevard, and they had the street all dug up for the subway they were building out there that goes from the [San Fernando] Valley all the way to Hollywood, back and forth underneath a mountain, and all the little shops, all the little souvenir, tourist-trap shops are blasting out...everyone has their little speaker out front with their own personal music choice, just everything...there's Arabic music coming out of one, and you go to the next one and it's country and western, and the next one's jazz, and the next one's soul music, it was like this bizarre radio station. And I called it 'Radio Hollywood.' [Laughs]. I haven't played that one for awhile; I do sort of a rap in the middle."
"The first [Jones Bros.] session went much more smoothly. The second one [where this track was cut] was kinda difficult. For one thing, [the band] wanted to start learning the material for the studio as soon as I got there, and we were doing some live shows, so I said, 'Let's learn this live set first, and then we'll go back and do the studio stuff,' which was STUPID on my part, because the live gigs would just be one-off gigs, and the studio thing would be around forever. So we had a little trouble once we got to actually learning the three tracks that we were gonna record. We were having trouble getting a handle on them, and we were kinda running out of time. So we went in the studio, into 4th Street, and cut it the way we'd rehearsed it, but when we got around to mixing it, I went out to the store to buy some beer or something like that and the other guys went ahead and mixed it while I was gone. They TOTALLY changed it. They took some of the guitars out and put in those [background] vocals, and when I came back, it was completely rearranged, but it was cool. I thought they did a good job with it. Now when I hear it, it kinda sounds like 'I Am Kid Rock' or whatever that song is, but it was BEFORE that."
"That's a song that I had sitting around for, I dunno, five or 10 years, and just had never done anything with it, and I thought it would be a good song for the [first Jones Bros.] session. It's just about MTV, basically, and pop music. So we went in and cut that pretty much the way I'd written it, and that's just the way it turned out. We doubled the vocals, or TRIPLED them or something, so it has a real smooth vocal sound, and Manny Alvarez just NAILED the solo, he did it in one or two takes, and it's just a beautiful, soaring solo. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. We were mixing that song when the guy came in and said, 'Hey, this is the Beach Boys' studio!' and that's when it all hit me. It was like dŽjˆ vu all over again; you look around and go 'Oh, man, that explains EVERYTHING - why we're recording this weird song that's not like anything else we've ever done!' It sorta made sense 'cause we were in the Beach Boys' studio. Sorta like the ghost of Carl Wilson was hovering over the mix and directing everything."
"I had always liked that song, from 'The Song of the South,' the [Walt Disney!] movie. It seemed like a fun song; I used to sing it around the house, and we ended up putting it in the Rationals' live show towards the end. We went in the studio a few months before we broke up, and it was gonna be a demo, but then the band broke up, so nothing happened with it...it just ended up lying around. We didn't have the master; we had a quarter inch stereo copy that had been rough mixed in the studio that day. But this guy called me up and he had the original 8-track master. The studio had gone out of business and the people at the studio had given him the tape. He called me up and said, 'I don't need this, you want it, right?' so I went down and met him at this club in Detroit and got the tape. That song is all about the vocals; that's the whole story on that. The vocals are real good. Steve [Correll] and Terry [Trabandt] sing so high, I dunno how they do it, but it sounds GREAT. Kinda the same vocal quality that we got out of some of the other good studio stuff from the Rationals like 'I Need You,' 'Handbags and Gladrags,' 'Glowin''...the were REALLY good at backup singing, and the lead vocal's good, too. The last coupla years I've kinda been on a rock thing, since I hooked up with the Hellacopters and did the Hydromatics, but I'm trying to keep that in the mix, the soul music. This is Nick [Royale's] idea, that we should be able to combine rock and soul into one sound. I've always thought that was true, and I've always done that in my music, but we've just been leaning a little on the rock side a little bit, recently.. But it may come back around again. The next Hydromatics album will have some soulful stuff on it too, along with the rock stuff."
Cool Breeze 78
"That was the first time we ever recorded that song. And that was a demo, also. That was done while the rest of Sonic's Rendezvous Band was in Europe, touring with Iggy. This friend of mine wanted to be a record producer, so we went in the studio while they were in Europe, just to lay down a couple of tracks, just for kicks. That was one of 'em, and I rounded up my brother Johnny and Ron Cooke, and the three of us did the basic tracks, then we brought in Steve Dansby to play the solo at the end of the song. It's got a lot of me kind of rambling on the guitar and harmonica, but it worked, I thought."
She's Wild 85
"That was a song I wrote during that Scott Morgan Band period. A local guy, Doug Podell - he's a deejay from Detroit - had a local video show on the local PBS station. He wanted us to come on the show, and I'd do an interview and then they would show our video. So we went in to cut 'She's Wild' to be the music track from the video. They paid for all of the stuff, and then they brought in some video and film guys and filmed us lip-synching the song. So that was the track, and after we cut it, the guy who was the producer of it thought we could do more with it, so he turned it over to the engineer, who had done a bunch of stuff with Bob Seger, and they cut it all up and spliced the tape up, moved things around and changed everything arrangement-wise, but it sounded cool; I liked it. So that's the way it ended up. That's my brother Johnny and Scott Asheton again on drums, Gary Rasmussen on bass, Mike Katon on guitar, Jimmy Romeo on saxophone, and, I call 'em 'Some Girls' on background vocals - the producer just brought in his girlfriend and some other girl. The old 'bring your girlfriend in the studio' - 'You wanna sing on a RECORD?' But it turned out okay, and we ended up including that in our demo tape, it was the last song on our demo tape. The first song was 'Rhythm Communication,' the second one was a song called 'Come On Baby' that was kinda Phil Spector/Springsteenish, and then the next one was 'She's Wild.' That was the last demo that we ever sent to a record label. And after that, we cut '16 With a Bullet' and the rest is history."
"That was another song that obviously wouldn't work for Sonic's Rendezvous Band. A little too different, although we all loved country music. Fred grew up on it, that's how he learned to play guitar, his dad showing him Hank Williams songs or whatever. Gary, the first thing that HE ever listened to was Homer and Jethro! And Scott and I were huge country fans; at the time, we were big Hank Williams, Jr., fans, and all the Nashville outlaws, y'know, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and all that stuff. But it just wouldn't have fit with the other stuff in Sonic's Rendezvous Band, so I figured I'd just do it on this."