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Monday, May 28, 2012


The Power Plant were a Los Angeles studio concoction led by songwriter (Thomas) Baker Knight. Knight's story is fascinating; he grew up very poor in Alabama, learned to play guitar in the Air Force and moved to L.A with the hopes of a film career that didn't pan out. Allegedly down to his last few cents, he penned the classic "Lonesome Town", about his experience in Hollywood as a stranger in a strange land. Fate intervened, the song was picked up by Ricky Nelson, one of the greatest 45's on the '50's was cut, and Knight's fortune changed for the better. A true American success story!

Flash forward a few years, and we find Knight in the studio aping the sounds of The Sir Douglas Quintet on a record that was a complete exploitation not only of the SDQ sound, but also the rampant psychedelic culture of the time (summer of 1967). While the song was cut the previous year by Dino, Desi & Billy, the Power Plant version ups the ante of drug culture by replacing the line "make me flip" (as heard on the original) with "make me trip". Plus, "Power Plant" itself undoubtedly refers to pot, and Texas psych maniacs The Golden Dawn also used the name "Power Plant" for their '67 LP, with an album cover depicting neon painted marijuana and psylocybin mushrooms.

The Monkees also cut a version of this a few months prior during their first play-their-own instruments "Headquarters" sessions; sadly, only an instrumental backing exists, as they never cut vocals for the track.

While this record may be a sham, it's a damn good one; it swings like a mo-fo!

from 1967...



justice said...

hi D,

what you mean by "a mo-fo" ?

Derek See said...

Ha! "mofo" is another way to say that horribly X-rated M.F swear word; you know, one of the seven dirty words (with a "mother" placed in front of it) you cannot say on radio/TV or the Daily 45. That MF word gets thrown around alot in music biz lingo.

phipps11 said...

Billy Fury did a good version of this too.
-- Jon

Funky16Corners said...

Baker Knight also wrote a lot for Dean Martin, and speaking of "sham" psyche, he also recorded the remarkable "Hallucinations" on Reprise.

Dirty PJ said...

Inerestingly, British late 50s rock'n'roll and 60s pop balladeer Billy Fury did a pretty decent version of 'She So Far Out She's I'n in 1966 already on the b-side of 'Give Me Your Word'. Guess he must have heard the Dino, Desi & Billy recording.