Classic Singles #75: Larry and The Blue Notes – Love Is a Beautiful Thing / In and Out (1966)

LandBNs-labelLarry and The Blue Notes, from Fort Worth, Texas, had a somewhat convoluted recording history. They formed as early as October 1962 to play a Halloween party but their heyday was a couple of years later. They scored a local hit with their debut single when it was leased to 20th Century Fox and issued with the flip, ‘Night of the Phantom’, as the a-side. The song had originally been recorded as ‘Night of the Sadist’ but their producer, local entrepreneur Major Bill Smith, insisted that the word “phantom” replace “sadist” as he was worried about the reaction the number might receive in its original form.

It was after this that the band’s confusing discography starts, as they were encouraged to release a follow-up 45 to clear up the mystery of who the Phantom was (“my brother Joe” as it turns out) but this was credited to The Mark 5 (Charay, 1965). Their third single, a cover of ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’, was picked up by Epic but this time the band’s name was changed to The Bad.

LandBNs-bandYou can see from the discography below that the song ‘In and Out’ appeared as the b-side to no less than four other numbers (five if you count the acetate-only ‘You Cheated, You Lied / In and Out’ from July 1967). Just to muddy the waters further, the singles, though released at different times, all had the catalogue number Charay 44. The first appeared in July 1966 with ‘There’s No Other (Like My Baby)’ as the a-side but the one I have opted for is the November 1966 issue as I really like the group’s cover of The Young Rascals’ ‘Love Is a Beautiful Thing’ (we’ve heard The Shady Daze have a crack at this one as well).

‘In and Out’ is the monster here though, intense garage awash with driving keyboards, stinging fuzz guitar and top notch wailing harmonica with a great rave-up finish. No wonder they kept on re-using it!

‘Love Is a Beautiful Thing’

‘In and Out’

Reissues: both sides are on Big Beat’s 1985 vinyl retrospective The Major Bill Tapes Vol. 1: Larry and the Blue Notes, which can still be tracked down pretty easily. Otherwise, ‘In and Out’ is on Teenage Shutdown Volume 10 and Fort Worth Teen Scene Volume 3.

  • All My Own / Night of The Phantom (Tiris / 20th Century Fox, 1965)
  • Talk About Love / She’ll Love Me (Charay, 1965)
  • Everybody Needs Somebody / She’ll Love Me (Charay / Epic, 1965)
  • There’s No Other (Like My Baby) / In and Out (Charay, 1966)
  • Love Is a Beautiful Thing / In and Out (Charay, 1966)
  • No Milk Today / In and Out (Charay, 1966)
  • I’ll Be True to You / In and Out (Charay, 1967)

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