Forgotten series: The Movin’ Morfomen – Flashbacks! (1997)

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Formed in 1965, the Movin’ Morfomen staged quite an impact throughout their home state of New Mexico. Based in Espanola, situated just north of Santa Fe, the band issued five singles before the decade drew to a close. Such efforts amassed an ample amount of local airplay and are now coveted by fans of regional garage rock.

Attuned to the rapidly changing musical fashions of the day, the Movin’ Morfomen rolled with the punches and possessed a natural flair for wrapping their heads around a bevy of different genres. Rising above sheer imitation, the band slipped their own industrious quirks into their material, which was authored by Dave Rarick, who handled vocals, guitar and keyboards.

The singles, some previously unreleased tracks and tunes the band recorded when a few members reunited in the 1990s as the Flashbacks is the fare this Collectables Records anthology entails.

Backpedaling to an earlier era, the Movin’ Morfomen spike the bubbly “Don’t Go Baby” with a shot of doo-wop styled harmonies, while the bittersweet blush of “When You Were Mine” reflects the lilting pop properties of Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers.

Clattering keyboards collide with jarring breaks and thumping timekeeping drills on the garage rock-instructed “Run Girl Run,” and “Only The Young” is a light and breezy little instrumental.

Set to a punishing beat, “We Tried, Try It” is actually a remodeled take of “Try It,” which was initially put to wax by the Ohio Express, but made famous by the Standells, whose version prompted a heck of a controversy because certain folks stupidly branded it racy and obscene.

The booming burr of a trumpet, combined with a nasty fuzz riff hijacked from “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and a sweltering showcase of gospel-slanted choruses cushion the soulfully funky “Think For Yourself,” where the wild and wiggy “What’s Happened To Me” romps and rattles with skittish rhythms and psychedelic illusions.

Grasping tight to a vintage vibe, the Flashbacks sound as vital as ever on cuts like “Leaving Love Behind,” “Back When You Were Mine” and “You, Me And KBOM Radio.” Sparked by polished vocals, tidy melodies and clutter-free arrangements, these tunes flicker with pure pop insights. Marinated in a tangy Spanish sauce, “A Santa Fe Song,” written by drummer Ed Valdez, is another great number performed by the Flashbacks.

Never standing still for too long, the Movin’ Morfomen approached their music with open minds and open hearts. The band was fun, frisky and flexible. Teeming with hooky tunes delivered with energy and enthusiasm, “Flashbacks!” holds fast as a fine illustration of a band that deserved the admiration they received.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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