Garage Gold #12: The Better Half-Dozen – I’m Gonna Leave You / I Could Have Loved Her (1966)

BHD_labelThis band was from New Orleans, Louisiana and was known as The Avantis before changing name to The Better Half-Dozen (because they felt they were better than most of the other local acts and at that point there were six people in the group). They were a popular live attraction, playing mostly in New Orleans at bars such as The Beaconette, Gerald’s Key Club, and Le Club Pussycat, and on occasion venturing north to Baton Rouge and Alexandria and east to Mobile, Alabama.

In August 1966 the band met Steve Montagnet, a law student promoting live shows under the name Splendor Enterprises. He financed the recording of four songs at Cosimo Matassa’s studio on Camp Street. The two originals ended up on the single; the other two numbers were covers of ‘Mister, You’re a Better Man Than I’ and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s ‘Transparent Day’ (neither of which ever saw the light of day). The 45 was released on the U-Doe label in November 1966 in a press of around 500 copies, and unfortunately received little or no radio play.

‘I’m Gonna Leave You’ is a full-on garage stomper with sneering vocals, in-your-face Farfisa organ, and a fine little “clean” guitar break.

‘I’m Gonna Leave You’

For me, ‘I Could Have Loved Her’ is the killer though. It sounds like it is going to be a pleasant ballad but a sense of urgency is quickly apparent and then it transforms into a pulverising fast rocker with a sledgehammer chord progression and the Farfisa again to the fore. The harmony vocals on the chorus provide a neat contrast to the frantic verse.

‘I Could Have Loved Her’

Reissues: Both sides are on Eva’s Sixties Archives Volume 3.

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