Song Of The Day 11/29/2014: The Wheels - "Road Block"



Housekeeper's Holiday: There were two bands out of Belfast, Northern Ireland in the mid-'60s who played rock and roll as if their lives were in mortal danger without it. One of them was Them, with their lead singer Van Morrison and a cornerstone-in-waiting called "Gloria." The other one was The Wheels, whose lead singer Brian Rossi was brazenly bald in an era when long hair was a measure of your virility. Rossi went for the Yul Brynner segment, as do I, with unapologetic vigor. Them managed to squeeze out two albums with their frontman; the Wheels only made enough material for one, and it never came out until two years ago. There was some intermingling between the two bands on a micro-level: Van and guitarist Herbie Armstrong playing in the same house band at one point, the Wheels cranking out their own version of "Gloria," producer Tommy Scott in common. I'm sure someone's kept all the receipts and they could probably clear those things up.

The Wheels' single was "Bad Little Woman," and it was expected to hit the Billboard Hot 100. Which it did, except it was the version done by Shadows Of Knight. But the B-side of "Bad Little Woman" was "Road Block," a driving mix of Bo Diddley guitar and a straight 4 beat, with Rossi shouting demands like an out-of-sorts traffic cop.

Not that I give a damn about hair, but check out the mop on the guy on the far left. Maybe the one gentleman in garage rock who stood up for the platinum blonds in the house, as well as those who wore helmets outside.
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