Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vanilla Fudge - "You Keep Me Hanging On" From the Album Vanilla Fudge

It has occurred to me recently, as through the vagaries of Shuffle- and Autofill-induced chance, I have now heard this bejewelled relic of the psychedelic age three times over the last 72 hours, that Vanilla Fudge must be the '60's closest analog to doom metal.

Maybe not drop-tuned, but plodding and monolithic nonetheless, just like the glacial tempos enjoyed these days by the doomsters and that crowd.

I'm old but I'm not that old, so I can't say for certain. But as well as the first Vanilla Fudge album did, I get the feeling that "You Keep Me Hanging On" and the rest of it was for the hardcore freaks of the time. George Harrison is famously said to have latched onto the album during the summer of 1967 and to have blasted it nearly continuously from the windows of his palatial bungalow or whatever, and both the album and its single here charted--but still.

Regardless, this music rather screams underground, Weather and otherwise, flagburners and yippies and the burn baby burn types. Let's just say that we haven't heard muzak versions of these songs, in the same way yas I am sure we won't for (more or less) current fringe faves like "Doom-antia" or "Dopesmoker."

And check out the brontosaurus bass. If guitarist Vinnie Martell spends half his time trying to get his axe to sound like a sitar, Tim Bogert's playing, way out front, distorted and thunderous, is definitely of the flavor that Geezer Butler and his children and grandchildren would purvey.

What I am trying to say, ladies and gentlemen, freaks and freakettes, is that this is heavy music. Proto-metal like contemporaries Blue Cheer, for sure, but also proto-doom. There, I said it. Proto . . . doom.

I was reading on Wikipedia where someone wrote that the Bolton Iron Maiden might have prefigured doom . . . poppycock. But I believe The Vanilla Fudge bear such a leaden genealogical mantle a bit more easily.

File under: There I said it


tad said...

Ah yez, Vanilla Fudge. Very Heavy. 1 of their later albums -- THE BEAT GOES ON or ROCK AND ROLL or possibly RENAISSANCE -- was sposta contain the entire (condensed) history of music.... Doesn't get much heavier than that.
I always thot The Fudge's heavy approach worked better for "You Keep Me Hangin' On" than the desperation in Diana Ross & the Supremes' original version.
I'm now also looking forward 2 your (I'm sure upcoming) post on Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues" or a possible epic post on Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida"....
Nice work, keep at it. Also enjoyed your girlfriend's nostalgia piece on Tampa awhile back.... -- TAD.

rastronomicals said...

Thanks for the comment, Tad, even if I'm late getting to it.

I HEARD that Vanilla fudge album. It was called The Beat Goes On and was sort of built around a recurerence of the Sonny and Cher tune. I remember they did a little Mozart, and a little "Old Black Joe"

I only heard it once (borrowed from a neighbor's dad), but I've never forgotten it, perhaps the most ambitious musical project I've ever heard of.

Big fan of "Summertime Blues" in just about all its incarnations. Probably like The Who's Live at Leeds version best, but Blue Cheer's does indeed smoke . . . . maybe there's a post there.