The Lollipop Shoppe - You Must Be A Witch/Don't Close The Door

The Lollipop Shoppe
You Must Be A Witch/Don't Close The Door

Released 1968 on UNI
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 09/03/2007ce

At long last the genius of Fred Cole is starting to be recognized. In the past few months I have seen many articles on his longtime group Dead Moon mentioned in the music press, and it's long overdue. Both Dead Moon and fellow northwest survivors The Wipers were making tough, uncompromising Rock & Roll for decades, long before Nirvana and company came in and stole all the thunder.

But it didn't start in the northwest for Fred Cole. Cole cut his musical teeth in a group called The Weeds in the unlikely town of Las Vegas, Nevada. The Weeds only recording was a lethal garage punk anthem that coupled "It's Your Time" with a rough and ready cover of Them's "Little Girl" on the tiny Teenbeat label (it was re-issued in the 80's on the Bohemoth label.)Yet I do believe Cole used The Weeds name again in the 70's.

The Weeds were basically your average mid 60's anti-social garage punks who were hassled by both "the man" and local cowboys and red-necks. So a change of location was in order, and the group hauled freight to sunny Los Angeles, where they hooked up with British pop manager Lord Tim Hudson (also manager of The Seeds.) It was Hudson who forced the group to drop the name The Weeds and take up the rather lame nickname The Lollipop Shoppe (most likely to try cash in on the 1968 bubblegum craze.) The group was dead set against the name change, but I guess it was out of their control.

The Lollipop Shoppe's debut 45 "You Must Be A Witch" b/w "Don't Close The Door" was an absolutely stunning debut, rivaling the Doors debut "Break On Through" and Love's 1966 mindbender "7&7 Is". "You Must Be A Witch" comes right at you from the start in a hail storm of fuzz bass, slashing chords and Cole's manic, almost hysterical vocals. Truly west coast garage punk at it's finest. The flip "Don't Close The Door" is no slouch either, this one has a more subtle San Francisco sound not that far from Moby Grape or The Other Half. Again Cole's tortured vocals are the high point.

This single paved the way for the group's inspired debut album "Just Colour" , a great collection that legendary writer Brian Hogg said was the missing link between Love and The Seeds. Sadly this would be the Lollipop Shoppe's only long player. The group did issue another inspired 45 "Someone I Knew" b/w "Through My Window" on the Shamley label, and can also be seen performing the brilliant non-LP track "Mr. Madison Avenue" in the movie "Angels From Hell." More about the Shamley 45 later.

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