Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kama Sutra Records: Have You Seen My Baby?

The Flamin’ Groovies from San Francisco had their own cult following, but unfortunately this proto-punk/blues/rock band never became a household name. Although they lacked the fame they deserved, the Flamin’ Groovies produced some great music. Their 1971 album “Teenage Head” was the final of the two LPs released by Kama Sutra Records. Today’s selection is a single release from their last LP with the label: “Have You Seen My Baby?” Unfortunately, it never made it onto any chart.

Although they had released several singles and EPs, the Flamin’ Groovies would not release another album until picked up by Sire Records in 1976. Albeit they still had a cult following, the Groovies had a modicum of commercial success on their new label. When I think of the Flamin’ Groovies, I picture guitarist/vocalist Cyril Jordan playing his Dan Armstrong “see through guitar.” The same guitar he is pictured playing on “Teenage Head.”

Designed by luthier Armstrong for Ampeg in 1969, these guitars and basses were constructed from clear Plexiglas. Because acrylic was denser than wood, the Dan Armstrong model was a heavier guitar in more ways than one because it sustained like crazy.

In addition, the pickups, manufactured by Bill Lawrence, had a bite that added to the attraction of this unusual see-through instrument. The guitar was designed so various pickups could be interchanged.  Ampeg manufactured these models through the early 1970s and many of the guitar legends of that day had one in their arsenal. In 2006, Ampeg reintroduced the Plexi model for a limited time. Both the originals and the reissues surface on eBay every so often.

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