Thursday, September 15, 2011

Good News From Beantown/It's the Simple Story of a Boy in All His Glory/Reddy Teddy and Matthew MacKenzie [Repost]

I recently discovered that the May 1974 issue of Creem had a pretty noteworthy item about Reddy Teddy (and the great Sidewinders). Sidewinders as the next Kiss or is that the next Dust? In retrospect, both should be included in the class of '74 winners, no? Another one of those items with a lot of "what if" possibilities. Given how great those demos sounded, the lp would've been a monster. Guys, how about pressing up some tapes of the 1972-74 era? Kinda reminds of what would have happened if the Weirdos did sign with a major label in 1977 instead of telling them to take a hike. Such is life . . .

With that note below, and the re-up of several audio files - including the essential cut of "Teddy Boy" from 1974 - here is the original post on Reddy Teddy from about two years ago.

The early to mid-1970’s greater Boston area music scene was unparalleled by its wealth of proto-punk greatness. The Modern Lovers, the Sidewinders, the Count, Fox Pass, Thundertrain, the Third Rail, the nascent lineups of the Real Kids and DMZ, Willie Alexander and the pre-Cars Cap n' Swing. To my ears, the real unknown gem is Reddy Teddy and the late Matthew MacKenzie. If your idea of classic rock is mid-60’s Who/Kinks/Yardbirds/Pretty Things/Byrds and pretty much every original rock n’ roller who influenced those folks, you get the picture of the Reddy Teddy ethos.

Back in 1972, in Winchester, Mass, Reddy Teddy was causing a NY Dolls styled ruckus that matches anything Clap, Streak, Rags, Milk ‘n Cookies, Shady Lady and the Berlin Brats recorded in a high energy vein. Reddy Teddy shared bills with the Dolls in this period and liked to party with Aerosmith at Kilsyth Manor - a locale with debauched tales that apparently match those of the fabled Canterbury apartment complex in Hollywood several years later. Courted in 1973 to sign a major label deal with the same A&R rep Paul Nelson that signed Blue Ash to Mercury, Reddy Teddy cut some great demos in Boston and went to NYC and recorded an lp that was never released - purportedly due to the oil shortage. The photo of Matthew MacKenzie recording in Boston was taken at the session which gives us the blistering version of “Teddy Boy.” I usually wouldn't repost something but I have noticed that the audio files of several older posts were deleted as well as finding something new to add so here it is again:

Unable to get their tapes, in 1974 they put out a killer pre-punk independent 45 of “Novelty Shoes/Goo Goo Eyes.” I have included my own vinyl rip of the single below:

In 1974, we have Patti’s “Piss Factory” and Crème Soda’s “(I’m) Chewin’ Gum.” If you haven’t registered Reddy Teddy as part of the class of 1974, please do so now. I guess we could have had the major label pre-punk, power pop lp like those of Blue Ash, Artful Dodger, Piper (the VU/Squier connection will be the subject of a later post) but it is all left to rotisserie baseball conjecture. Here is a photo from the "Teddy Boy" session:

Not to get into all the minutia of the 1975-76 era (let the clippings from the barn archive flesh out the story – Gene Sculatti writing to Matthew, Ken Barnes great lp review in Phonograph, the amazing triple bill at Harvard of Patti Smith/Sparks/Reddy Teddy).

While their buddies Aerosmith rose to the top in 1976, Reddy Teddy put out an independent lp. To me the 1976 lp has its moments of greatness. What everyone should track down is the Not Lame label archival dig
that has plenty of the 1972-1976 era and is of the most interest here. Is there a better cut of prime, Dollsian-street punk than “Teddy Boy” and the demos for the 1976 lp are ace as well. Reddy Teddy’s last show in the 70’s was opening for Van Halen in 1978.

Below are two of the better tracks from the '76 lp - "Shark in the Dark" and "Boys and Girls":

The story of Matthew MacKenzie is contained in part in the Not Lame release but lets hope some early 70's live stuff materializes. My guess is that the studio did not do them justice. Reddy Teddy continues today - go check them out on the web and see John, Scott, Joe, Ted and Jeff live.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, this is great stuff. please send me your email address (to so I can communicate to you about a Hot Knives album (Groovies offshoot circa '76) I'm about to release on my Grown Up Wrong! label here in Australia. would love to also chat about Sidewinders, Reddy Teddy etc. Cheers, Dave Laing