Classic Singles #61: The Chateaux – Reference Man Part 1 / Reference Man Part 2 (1968)

Chateaux_labelTime for something a little more psychedelic I think. The Chateaux were from Vermillion, South Dakota and their single appeared on the Eye label in January 1968. They had previously been known as The Shattoes, with one single to their credit on Studio City in 1965, ‘Surf Fever / Do You Love Me’.

‘Reference Man Part 1’ starts as it means to go along with heavy fuzz guitar. This one has a thumping beat and strong, confident vocals. Tape flanging is used to great effect on both the guitar breaks and the slower middle section, which in an embarrassment of riches also has some neat wah-wah guitar. And as has been pointed out, when they ask the Reference Man to guide them as “you say you have a way to feel the sky”, they probably aren’t talking about the local librarian!

‘Reference Man Part 1’

The first half of ‘Part 2’ consists of a different version of ‘Reference Man’ with plenty of space for some sweet guitar work. After an up tempo start, it soon settles into a slowed down, more reflective reading of the song. Just when things seem to be grinding to a halt, the familiar strains of the a-side kick in and a full reprise of that ensues. I don’t know if the whole of ‘Part 2’ was one long monolithic take which they edited down for the a-side or whether they added this to the end of the slower version to give the choice between the “short single” and a more sprawling flip that might appeal to the freaks.

‘Reference Man Part 2’

An earlier version of ‘Reference Man’ also exists. This dates from 1967 and a trip the band made to take part in a Battle of the Bands competition in Milford, Iowa organised by IGL Records. While they were there they booked into the label’s recording studio and cut this and another track titled ‘Caught Up In The Blues’, the latter being included on IGL’s Roof Garden Jamboree album issued the same year (the early ‘Reference Man’ can now be heard on Arf Arf’s The IGL Rock Story Part 2).

Reissues: ‘Part 1’ is on 30 Seconds Before The Calico Wall. The flip hasn’t been commercially reissued but there were a series of compilations called U-Spaces: Psychedelic Archaeology put together by a group of music fans and ‘Part 2’ is on Volume 4.


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