Thee Midniters, “Jump, Jive and Harmonize / Thee Midnite Feeling” (1967): One Track Mind

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Not to be mistaken for Hank Ballard’s Midnighters, these cool cats came from East Los Angeles and reigned righteously as one of the region’s finest bands during the 1960s. Astonishingly diversified, Thee Midniters played every stitch of music conceivable, leading them to appeal to both adults and kids. Be it crooner ballads or steamy rock and roll, the band executed its material with style and substance.

Aside from keeping busy on the live circuit, Thee Midniters released a spate of singles and three albums, including a greatest hits type packet. Such efforts, which took in cover songs and original compositions, reflected the band’s varied repertoire, and are all highly recommended.

But for now, let’s tune into the sensational sounds of “Jump, Jive and Harmonize” (Whittier Records), that without a shadow of a doubt, reels in as one of the best songs ever put to plastic. Duplicating the kind of ecstasy and excitement proposed in church revival numbers, the smoking track screams and creams to an explosive cocktail of stabbing fuzz guitars, ear-piercing harmonica trills, and hip-shaking rhythms.

Hungry and soulful vocals, complemented by a shouting chorus provide the song with an added groove factor. Suggesting a ferocious collaboration between James Brown and the Yardbirds, “Jump, Jive and Harmonize” is hot enough to melt the vinyl it was pressed on.

Flip the disc over, and there’s “Thee Midnite Feeling,” a driving instrumental carved of powered riffs and expressive melodies.

Though Thee Midniters missed cracking the national market, their local legacy remains, with Los Lobos particularly citing the band as a main influence. Collectors of 60s music also raise a toast to Thee Midniters, and their records have been reissued for new generations to enjoy.

A bona fide party raver, “Jump, Jive and Harmonize / Thee Midnite Feeling” flawlessly summarizes the band’s affection and flair for writing and performing gritty blues-based garage rock.

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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