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October 12, 2014 / thackersam

October 12 – Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla FNo matter what I say, the fact remains that Vanilla Fudge’s version of the Supremes’ hit “You Keep Me Hanging On” is, in my humble opinion, the best cover song ever. A moment of the song performed by the band was shown on the WLIW Ed Sullivan rock ‘n roll fundraising special that I mentioned previously, and it was funny. The psychedelic background, and the excruciating look of angst on the bass player’s face as he sang, and he was just singing backup. So it must be another act of fate that brought this record into my hands, and thus brings us to another story, for which I apologize, but you know I just can’t help myself.

This past Thursday was a near-perfect day, and that’s only because I don’t believe there is any such thing as perfect. It was movie with the ex day, which always starts with breakfast at a diner, me giving the waitress or waiter my very specific order of two eggs over easy, well-done potatoes, crispy bacon and buttered rye toast, and the ex saying he’ll have the same. And always coffee. We then had more than two hours to kill before the movie, Gone Girl was to start, and as I had gone out to The Island this time, we took a drive to Northport. I did warn the ex that I was looking for a new jacket, something between the denim jacket I was wearing on this beautiful and warm early Autumn day, and the heavier jacket I would be hauling out in about 20 degrees before I got to my winter coat. He’s actually always been good to shop with, not for himself, but for me. If it were not for the invention of blue jeans, he’d have no self-style at all. Almost immediately we came to a shop on Main Street called Helga’s which turned out to be a great new consignment shop, with lots of good stuff at pretty reasonable prices, unlike some of the snooty-poots consignment shops in Manhattan. First I found a jacket that is not precisely what I was looking for, but for the price, condition and fit, it is not bad at all and resolved that issue. Then, and this is the reason for me taking you to Helga’s in Northport, there was a small vinyl collection from which I was able to select three albums including tonight’s workout choice. The rest of Thursday went well. I enjoyed the movie, though much more than the ex did, we had burgers and beer at an Irish pub, the moon which had been blood red the previous morning was still full and visible on this cloudless night, and I got home in time to see a production of Abingdon Theatre’s Hellman v McCarthy on WLIW (note to self – remember to make a donation), with Dick Cavett playing Dick Cavett.

The Vanilla Fudge album was a whopping $5. The other two were $10 each, but are much more essential to anyone’s collection. I didn’t know what to expect from my $5 find, I only knew them from the one song. My first impression, which was confirmed by the second and third impressions, is that they were heavy on everything, so heavy that they drowned out the crackles on the record. They were kind of an experimental, psychedelic group that had a similar sound to The Hassles (now remember we talked about The Hassles before so don’t be acting all confused). This, their first album out in 1967 was all covers, with “You Keep Me Hanging On” the cream, and the rest sludge. They covered The Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” and “Eleanor Rigby,” The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” and Sonny and Cher’s “Bang Bang,” to name most, in a consistent Vanilla Fudgy style that actually had me laughing. They also did a version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” that would induce sleep rather than motivate. However, the listening experience and now having a record with my favorite cover song on it, is more than well worth the five bucks.

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