Mercy Fire Ball (Sundi, 1970)
Here is an oddball. Not the song Fire Ball, but this single. The plug side is a song called Love (Can Make You Happy), which is as bland of a MOR hit as you will ever hear (and yes it was a hit). So at the very best, I expected the flip to be a sappy rocker. Wrong. Instead I drop the needle and out of the speakers comes a fuzz reminiscent of The Turtles' Buzzsaw. While the rest of the song doesn't quite have the primitive growl of Buzzsaw and the song itself is a pretty standard rock instrumental, the guitar is great. Nothing fancy here, just very cool distortion and contained feedback. What also makes this unusual is that the song is from 1970, not a year you think of when the words Link Wray-inspired garage instrumental are mentioned. Another thing making this special is the flaw: Listen closely and you will hear the drummer stumble toward the end. "Ah it's the B side so who cares?" It's that flaw that makes this real even though it was most likely a studio throwaway. You can't fake fucking up!
So who were Mercy? They started as a Tampa Bay, Florida garage band. Their first big break was an appearance in Lon Cheney, Jr.'s last film Fireball Jungle. Soon after they recorded Love (will make you happy), which raced up the charts to number 2, crowding out Elvis, the Beatles, and Sinatra. Fire Ball hit in Japan but was stuck in B side hell in the United States. Mercy played with the regular slew if touring acts, hit the TV shows, recorded a few other records, and disappeared.
Do you know where I can download it? Can't find it anywhere.