The original LP version of this album, the second by the legendary white Chicago garage punk/blues outfit, was one of the most sought-after artifacts of mid-'60s punk rock. Back Door Men was a loud, feedback-laden, sneering piece of rock & roll defiance, mixing raunchy anthems to teenage lust ("Gospel Zone," "Bad Little Woman"), covers of Chicago blues classics (Willie Dixon's "Spoonful," Jimmy Reed's "Peepin' and Hidin'"), raga rock ("The Behemoth"), folk-rock ("Hey Joe," "Three for Love," "I'll Make You Sorry"), and a blues-punk grab off of commercial Top 40 ("Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day") all on one 12" platter.
What makes the record even more startling is that every one of these tracks, however far afield they go from one another, works. The band strides across the music spectrum with a reach and boldness that most listeners usually only associate with the likes of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, and a grasp that, for a moment here, may have exceeded either of those groups, as they slide from electric guitar into extended Chess-style blues instrumentals ("New York Bullseye").
by Bruce Eder
1966 was a busy year for the Shadows of Knight! Hot on heels of their hit ’66 debut album and monster single “Gloria,” they released their second long player, Back Door Men, before the year was out. It was another combustible collection of blazing blues covers and smoking originals. While there was still plenty of garage grit, they had already begun evolving stylistically. “The Behemoth” was a fine slice of raga rock while “Three for Love” jangled in a decidedly folk-rock style. Of particular note is their cover of the garage classic “Hey Joe.” One of many bands to record the song that year, the Shadows of Knight version took the uptempo road and rendered a distinct rendition, albeit one with a very Byrds-ian chime.
The group’s home town of Chicago was well-represented on the album through their foot stomping covers of Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” and Jimmy Reed’s “Peepin’ & Hidin’.” The group even ventured into Top 40 territory with a cover of the Tommy Boyce & Steve Venet song “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day,” a track featured on The Monkees’ debut LP, also released in 1966. That these seemingly disparate styles blended so cohesively was a tribute to the band’s road-hewn sensibility. This was a band used to playing for intense live audiences where they received instant feedback from the dance floor. They knew what it took to move and groove a crowd and that skill transferred seamlessly in the studio.
Original copies of Back Door Men became hard-to-find “holy grails” for dedicated collectors, commanding big prices. Now, this garage punk classic is finally available again! Sourced directly from the original Dunwich master tapes for the first time in over three decades, this Sundazed edition delivers stunning sonics for your listening pleasure. Just hang on ‘cause it’s a wild ride!
1. Bad Little Woman (Herbie Armstrong, Victor Catling, Rod Demick, Brian Rosbotham, Tito Tinsley) - 2:37
2. Gospel Zone (Tom Schiffour) - 3:19
3. The Behemoth (Harry Pye) - 2:34
4. Three For Love (Joe Kelly) - 3:11
5. Hey Joe (Billy Roberts) - 5:42
6. I'll Make You Sorry (Joe Kelly) - 2:42
7. Peepin' And Hidin' (Jimmy Reed) - 3:01
8. Tomorrow's Going To Be Another Day (Tommy Boyce) - 2:23
9. New York Bullseye (Harry Pye) - 2:43
10.High Blood Pressure (Huey "Piano" Smith, Johnny Vincent) - 3:38
11.Spoonful (Willie Dixon) - 2:57
12.Gospel Zone (Single Version) (Tom Schiffour) - 3:20
13.Willie Jean (Single) (Traditional, arranged by Harry Pye) - 2:50
14.I'm Gonna Make You Mine (Single) (William Carr, Carl D'Errico, Carole Bayer Sager) - 2:30
The Shadows Of Knight
*David "Hawk" Wolinski - Organ, Piano, Keyboards
*Joe Kelly - Guitar, Harmonica, Harp
*Jerry McGeorge - Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Feedback
*Warren Rogers - Bass, Guitar
*Tom Schiffour - Drums
*Jim Sohns - Maracas, Marimba, Tambourine, Vocals
1966 The Shadows Of Knight - Gloria
1965-70 Shadows Of Knight - Dark Sides
1968-69 The Shadows Of Knight - Shake! (2009 remaster)